- Head of the Praedial Larceny Prevention Unit, Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Kevin Francis, is advising farmers and other stakeholders in the agriculture sector to take extra precaution to secure crop and livestock to prevent theft during the Christmas season.
- The Jamaica Constabulary Force, which is leading the anti-praedial larceny programme, has implemented several measures in farming communities to curtail theft of agricultural produce.
- Persons can contact the Praedial Larceny Prevention hotline at 119 or 311 to report farm theft.
Head of the Praedial Larceny Prevention Unit, Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Kevin Francis, is advising farmers and other stakeholders in the agriculture sector to take extra precaution to secure crop and livestock to prevent theft during the Christmas season.
“Where it is Christmas or festive seasons, you find there is a spike in the theft of animals, especially goats and pigs. We try to engage the community relations part of the praedial-larceny programme to reduce these incidents,” he says.
The Jamaica Constabulary Force, which is leading the anti-praedial larceny programme, has implemented several measures in farming communities to curtail theft of agricultural produce.
In an interview with JIS News, DSP Francis outlined several safety and security tips for farmers and other stakeholders to prevent farm theft:
• Fencing and Gates
Farmers are being encouraged to make regular checks and inspections to validate the integrity of fences and gates, so that the necessary repairs or improvement can be done. Signage such as ‘No Trespassing’ and ‘Beware of Dog’ can be helpful and assist in maintaining privacy and safety.
• Alarm and Warning Systems
Installation of security cameras, video surveillance and other monitoring systems is encouraged, to reduce and prevent farm theft. Detection devices such as motion sensors, tripwires, sensor lights, panic buttons and cow bells are useful warning tools that can assist to protect life and property.
• Proper Lighting and Bushing
Ensure that property is properly lit, especially around the perimeter of farms and behind buildings. Trees or bushy areas must be properly maintained to have clear visibility around the farm and reduce the possibility of persons lurking on the premises.
• Creating Identity
Ensure that special markings are placed on animals (branding, tattoo, tag) so that they can be identified easily in the event of theft. This will also serve as an accountability measure for farmers who conduct daily checks and balances of their stock.
Farmers are being advised to create or bring up to date their list of assets and personal items, including vehicles, farm tools and other implements. An update should also be done on crop value and the number of animals owned. A record of employees should be kept and is to include home address, next of kin, contact numbers and location information for the purpose of creating a personal file on each person.
• Build Partnerships
A farm-watch programme is being recommended, as this encourages partnership at the community level among farmers, the police and other stakeholders. This crime-prevention strategy is useful, as it helps members of the community to be their neighbour’s keeper by looking out for any suspicious activity on farm property.
Meanwhile, Mr. Francis advises that farmers request recommendation letters from reputable individuals that speak to the character of farmworkers prior to employment. He notes that the request for a police record during the vetting process for all potential employees is advised.
A log of all animals and their branding number, tattoo or tag number should also be kept for personal records. This information applies to both large and small farmers.
DSP Francis says while there are challenges, the programme is making a positive impact on the agriculture sector, which has seen a reduction in theft of crop and livestock islandwide.
“The last statistics indicated a 14 per cent reduction in praedial larceny reported cases,” he states.
Persons can contact the Praedial Larceny Prevention hotline at 119 or 311 to report farm theft.
The Praedial Larceny Prevention Unit was established on March 2, 2015 through a partnership formed between the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries and the Ministry of National Security.