As an added precaution, he keeps an extra copy of these images in his office at work in the event of a fire or other accident.

While alarm systems are expensive, they are an excellent option, especially for farmers who are being challenged not only to safeguard farm implements but also expensive hardware such as precision farming equipment. And while the costs of these monitoring systems have risen in recent years, having one reduces insurance premiums, he says.

However, LaPrade cautions that some monitoring system companies to not operate in remote areas.

As an added safeguard in his own home and shop, LaPrade has installed motion detectors which, when tripped, send signals to the sheriff’s department.

He’s also installed cameras in areas around his home and shop where break-ins are likely to occur.  Many of these cameras can be purchased for as little as $50. These cameras are linked to video recording devices that begin recording when motion lights are tripped.

“Someone walks or drives up to the front or back of the house, the light and video recording device switches on,” LaPrade says.  “All these technologies are relatively inexpensive, but they’re worth their weight in gold.”

Another highly effective safeguard are timers, which can be programmed to turn interior lights, televisions and radios in homes and shops on and off during the night.

LaPrade says these relatively user-friendly, inexpensive devices can enable farmers and other rural residents to reduce the incidents of rural crime substantially.

“This will leave experienced criminals looking for the most vulnerable places, so make sure you safeguard your property so that it won’t be perceived as vulnerable,” he says.

Jones says even posting “No Trespassing” or “Authorized Personnel Only” signs on your farm are also good safeguard.  Likewise, tractors and other equipment should be parked in less conspicuous places.

LaPrade says farmers and others also should not discount the value of locks.  With most thefts occurring during the daytime, remembering to lock doors on the way to lunch or to undertake routine chores can go a long way toward reducing crime, he says.

In recent years, a major contributor to the spike in rural crimes rates has been scrap metal theft.

Thefts have involved everything from discarded metal to antique tractors.  Likewise, the copper wiring from pivot irrigation systems have become major focuses of theft, Jones says.

Under a new law, anyone who attempts to sell scrap metal to a vendor will have to submit a driver’s license in the future.   Sellers must also consent to being photographed before the sale can be completed.

Jones is also working with law enforcement and state agricultural officials to develop a system by which all farm equipment is assigned an I.D. number that is stored in a statewide database, better ensuring that stolen property is traced back to the owner.

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