How safe is your farm? That’s the question RACV and Neighbourhood Watch want Victorian farmers to answer as part of the new How safe is my farm initiative.

The latest figures from the Victorian Crime Statistics Agency (see below) show more than 2,000 offences were committed on Victorian farms in 2022, with theft – including theft of firearms and livestock – accounting for over 60 per cent of crimes.

How safe is my farm is an Australian-first Neighbourhood Watch initiative, developed with Victoria Police and supported by RACV, that helps Victorian farmers identify what they can do to reduce the risk of crime on their properties.

It includes an online tool that asks a series of questions about security and gives users a personalised report on how safe their farm is.

Victoria Police will be attending Wimmera Field Days – a showcase of the latest developments in farming practice – to promote How safe is my farm on behalf of Neighbourhood Watch. The event will be held from 7 to 9 March at Longerenong near Horsham in western Victoria and will have over 400 exhibitors.

Dr Alistair Harkness, Co-Director of the Centre for Rural Criminology at the University of New England and one of Australia’s leading experts in rural crime, said thefts from farms have enormous social and economic impacts.

“It can be costly, disruptive and mentally straining so the best way to avoid becoming a victim of farm crime is to do whatever possible to prevent offending from happening in the first place,” said Alistair.

“That’s why the innovative How safe is my farm tool from Neighbourhood Watch is invaluable. It lets farmers conduct an audit to see where vulnerabilities might exist and to think carefully about what crime prevention measures might be implemented to improve safety and security.

“For farming communities, it is important to keep an eye out for each other, report crime and suspicious behaviour when it does occur, and prevent crime occurring in the first place by implementing measures on farms to deter offending.”

CEO of Neighbourhood Watch Victoria, Bambi Gordon, encourages all Victorian farmers to use the online tool and find out how secure their property is.

“Back in the day, we left doors open and didn’t expect that we could be a victim. Times have changed. But on the upside, we know that theft is often opportunistic. If we can remove the opportunity, we can prevent crime from occurring,” Ms Gordon said.

“How safe is my farm is an Australian-first tool that teaches farmers how to do the simple things to secure their properties”.

To use the tool and find out more, visit howsafeismyplace.com.au/farm/.

How safe is my farm is an extension of the How safe is my place suite of resources, including a comprehensive online quiz and an interactive home security app launched by RACV and Neighbourhood Watch in 2022, all created to help Victorians determine how safe their home is from burglary and what they can do to improve overall security and safety.