Police concerned opportunistic fuel theft crimes may rise as petrol prices climb
By Sourced Externally
March 27, 2022
BENDIGO Police say they are concerned that high petrol prices may lead to opportunistic fuel theft crimes.
Although there has been no notable increase in crimes in the region, police say they are remaining cautious as diesel theft crimes continue to surge across rural and regional properties.
Over the past 12 months, diesel theft crimes has risen with the value of fuel stolen jumping 20 per cent.
Farm Crime Liaison Officer Leading Senior Constable Dan O’Bree said diesel thefts and sheep thefts were priority areas at the moment.
“There has been quite a few sheep and petrol thefts over the last couple of months in the region,” he said.
“It just important that people and farmers report farm crime when it happens so we are aware what is happening.”
Farm Crime Liaison Officer Leading Senior Constable Dan O’Bree.
The call comes as Crime Stoppers and Victoria Police this week launched, the Shut Out Farm Crime campaign.
Inspector Karl Curran, from Victoria Police’s Farm Crime Coordination Unit, said rises in crime recorded in the farming and rural sectors was a concern but also reflected recent campaigns with Crime Stoppers encouraging increased reporting to police.
Inspector Curran said there were simple ways of safeguarding properties including tagging livestock, locking gates and sheds, securing tools and equipment and where possible locking fuel bowsers and storage tanks.
Placing sensor lights around sheds and yards was also recommended along with doing regular stock headcounts so thefts were identified as soon as possible, getting CCTV and installing warning signs provided through police and Crime Stoppers to deter thieves.
“The farm gate signs we have provided have proved incredibly popular and we’re pleased to be able to offer even more free to farmers as well as new warning stickers through our partnership with Crime Stoppers.”
Crime Stoppers Victoria chief executive Stella Smith said despite the prevalence of farm crime, victims remain hesitant to contact authorities, allowing criminals to get away with offending.
“Not speaking up allows criminals to get away with offending and it affects farmers economically. If they don’t have money to spend in the local community, that impacts local traders as well,” Ms Smith said.
“They’re simple measures but can go a long way to discouraging farm crime and its devastating effects on local communities.”
Anyone with information about farm crime is urged to make an anonymous report to Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or crimestoppersvic.com.au.