Speak up about crime in the countryside
Crimestoppers is asking people in the region to speak up about crime in the countryside.
A new campaign against rural crime has been launched in Essex where nearly one third of all reported crime is classed as rural – with violence the most common crime.
Crimestoppers is an independent charity which believes everyone has the right to feel safe from crime, wherever they live. It empowers people to speak up and stop crime 100% anonymously, either by calling the 24-hour hotline 0800 555 111 or using a non-traceable anonymous online form. There’s no ID, no police contact, no witness statements, no courts.
In Essex, information given to Crimestoppers led to more than 300 people arrested and charged between April and September last year (2017). And the numbers continue to increase.
With a focus on combating crime in the countryside, Chair of Crimestoppers in Essex Stuart Rawlins said: ‘Not only does rural crime have a significant effect on the farming community and those who live and work in the countryside, it also impacts on those in towns and cities.
‘Our aim is to keep the countryside safer for all of us by getting that message across using social media, leaflets and other tools.’
The campaign will be in three stages. Social media has already been used to target hotspot areas and more will be rolled out during the next few months. Leaflets and posters will also be distributed to a number of partner organisations, many in smaller communities in the countryside, and village magazines will be asked to help.
Serious crimes do take place in rural communities. It’s not limited to farm crime. Crimes against property, crimes of violence, domestic violence, child abuse, trafficking and hate crimes all take place in rural communities.
In fact, any crime that affects those living, working or visiting rural areas is considered rural crime.
Stuart Rawlins said: ‘We know that in countryside communities people know who’s who. That could make people who know about a crime not want to tell police because they fear reprisals. Crimestoppers takes away that fear because of the anonymity. We pass the information to police but it’s all anonymous.
‘Small holders, shop keepers or any business people who work in the countryside may have information about crime which could be important and help police. Often they just don’t want to report it or talk to police. Contacting the Crimestoppers charity though can make a difference. However, if it’s an emergency, the number to call is 999. ’
Rural crime covers a wide range of crimes including theft of machinery, vehicles, heating oil, metal, diesel and pesticides. Thieves are known to target high-value agricultural equipment and many top-of-the-range stolen vehicles are smuggled out of the country, ending up in Eastern Europe. A new trend is emerging of criminals seeking out older models that are not fitted with immobilisers and alarms. Much of this stolen property is then sold to developing nations.
Serious and organised crime groups are often linked to rural, heritage and wildlife crime particularly in relation to theft of agricultural machinery, hare-coursing and cannabis cultivation.
Criminals generally target isolated areas and hard-to-protect buildings looking for easily sold items such as metal, gardening and agricultural machinery. By appealing for more eyes and ears across the countryside, raising awareness of the signs of rural crime and urging the public to contact Crimestoppers to tackle criminal gangs head on.
At Crimestoppers no personal details are taken and calls or online forms can’t be traced or recorded. There are no statements to police or contact with courts and there could be a cash reward if the information leads to an arrest or charge or conviction.
More than 1,000 people contact Crimestoppers every day which leads to around 14 people being arrested and charged each day.
This proves it can make a difference. Tell Crimestoppers about rural crime
For more information contact Stuart Rawlins at [email protected]
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