One key point is to be sure to report ANY suspicious activity to the Sheriff’s Office immediately at 9-1-1. We can’t help you if we don’t know about it. Vehicles driving slow or repeatedly through an area should be reported. Also alert your neighbors; a good “neighborhood/farm” watch program will deter such crime. Most of all use common sense and pay attention to what is going on around you, your property, and your neighborhood.
USE THE LOCKS ON DOORS! If possible, make sure external doors on the house and outbuildings are solid wood or metal and have dead bolts.
ALARMS should be installed on any buildings that house equipment, tools, chemicals or seed. Without an alarm, a thief would have all night to empty your building and no one would be alerted.
Consider investing in SURVEILLANCE CAMERAS and other equipment. Having an OCCUPIED RESIDENCE and good WATCH DOGS on site will also deter thieves.
Install outside LIGHTS and keep them on at night. Thieves are like cockroaches and will avoid bright lights. Consider motion sensors that will set off lights and possibly alarms. Use timers that automatically turn on the outside lights when it gets dark.
Prune shrubbery that may hide doors, windows, lights, and would-be burglars.
Keep fences in good repair. Secure all access roads to your property and equipment with LOCKED gates or cables stretched between solid posts that are cemented into the ground. Up their visibility with flags or streamers.
Secure pumps, tanks, storage bins, and other equipment with sturdy padlocks or dead bolts. Keep small equipment locked in a building.
Mark all of your equipment and property with your owner applied number (OAN) and be sure to record all serial numbers. These are unique numbers that are entered into a nationwide database that can help insure the return of your property if located. One can be obtained online at www.agcrime.net or by contacting the San Benito County Sheriff’s Office Agriculture Crimes Unit at (831) 636-4080.
Use “No Trespassing”, “No Hunting”, Farm Watch”, and other signs all around your property to warn thieves that they are being watched. Work with your neighbors and law enforcement to implement a Watch Program. Ask everyone in the area to patrol and report suspicious activity.
Never leave keys in unattended vehicles or equipment. Don’t leave tools in the back of a pickup truck or in an unsecured truck bed toolbox.
Keep storage areas neat and well-organized so that anything missing will be noticed right away. This also gives possible thieves the idea that the owner is paying attention to what is going on.
Create the illusion that someone is home when you are away. Stop delivery of the mail or newspaper or have a neighbor pick it up for you. Have someone check the property when you are gone.
Photographing certain equipment and valuables is also a good measure to take in case you are faced with having to prove ownership. Be sure to concentrate on specific identifying features that are unusual and keep good records
Chemical Theft Prevention:
Open boxes and break container seals. Mark chemical boxes and containers with spray paint (create your own custom mark that can be identified later) or an ink stamp with your company name and phone number. This will make chemicals less attractive to thieves and will allow them to be identified if stolen and recovered.
Order what you need and when you need it; do not store chemicals for extended periods. Deliver chemicals to a main location then transport to other locations.
Lock up all chemicals; if stolen, they can be resold. Alarm chemical storage buildings and use surveillance cameras (a picture is worth a thousand words). Surveillance systems are expensive but when you consider the cost of chemicals today, it is a small investment.
Don’t store chemicals in remote locations; a metal cargo container is a magnate for thieves and tells them that something valuable is inside. In remote locations, thieves have plenty of time to breach the seemingly well secured cargo containers.