This article on Farm security was published in the November / December edition Farming Scotland Magazine 2013
Growing up in a rural community in the 70’s and 80’s I was proud that few people in our village felt the need to lock their cars or homes. I felt it reflected the general trustworthiness of our community as well as the very low levels of crime directed against it. It made the countryside feel like a great and safe place to live. Three decades on, as I work supplying security equipment to farms it is clear that such levels of trust and openness still exist in most rural communities across Scotland.
When installing equipment on farms we are nearly always told – “If you need to go into the farm house just let yourself in – it’s never locked”. I notice expensive equipment and tools left unsecured, and vehicles unlocked with keys left inside. Approach road gates are left open, inviting visits from ‘white van men’. Farm buildings are rarely locked and when they are the keys are usually freely available from unlocked offices.
When questioned why they’re not carrying out even the most basic security practices, farmers often accept the need in principle but say it will interfere with their day-to-day working practices – “I can’t be locking and unlocking buildings all day “ they tell me. Or, “It’s too much hassle – that’s why I want CCTV”.
With crime against farms and rural communities across Scotland now reaching unprecedented levels this relaxed level of security awareness is now untenable. A challenging change of mindset needs to happen for all who are working and living in rural communities.
We need to accept that times have changed and start to view things the way they are – with people eyeing up our belongings as easy pickings.
Securing our property does take time and it will impact on how we do things. However, the basic and inexpensive security strategies can provide firm foundations on which more technical security solutions can build.
This change in thinking must happen if rural communities are to continue being great and safe places to live.