|CCTV Surveillance - even on the farm|
|The News - In the Media|
|Written by the Manawatu Standard|
|Monday, 02 July 2007|
Manawatu farmers fed up with thieves ripping off their property are embracing technology to catch offenders in the act.
Leading the counter-offensive is the president of Federated Farmers, Charlie Pedersen, who made the move to install surveillance cameras at his Himatangi Beach property after being robbed three times in less than a year.Equipment stolen in the raids, including two generators, was valued at nearly $10,000. Pedersen now monitors four cameras that scan a broad section of his 830-hectare dairy farm.
The security system, which he leases from SIACS, can capture a vehicle's registration number from 130m away at any time of the day. "It's a shame when you have to go to these lengths to protect your property, but criminals these days are going to pretty extraordinary measures to steal stuff and aren't put off by alarms," Pedersen said. "I was a bit embarrassed by the thefts, because we could give police serial numbers but no real information they could use to track these guys down and so it was useless."
The transition to a technological answer made for a bit of a change in tactic from the "letting the dogs loose and grabbing the rifle" method farmers traditionally employed, he said. "Now when I hear the dogs barking I can go to my office and flick on the screen and see who's out there. And it's useful for spotting salesmen and monitoring the stock as well."
In the hope of actually catching a thief, Pedersen has not put up signs advertising the presence of the cameras and plans to keep it that way. The manager of SIACS, Clint Herbert, said Pedersen was part of a growing trend among farmers who had, or were contemplating, surveillance equipment. "Over the last six months we've probably had two or three inquiries each month from farmers about putting in cameras. Before that there was nothing,"
he said. "A lot of the old-school farmers stick to their own methods, but the young ones who aren't technophobic are more prone to the idea and I believe a lot more people will be heading down this path. "It's about securing your assets, and with the price of petrol increasing it seems thieves are targeting fuel and motorbikes, which is a real hassle for the farmers."
Herbert said cameras were becoming popular because the technology was getting cheaper.
Palmerston North's police head of intelligence, Tim Moffatt, said while cameras were certainly useful, basic security measures often worked best. "I come from a farm myself and I know what a pain it can be taking the keys out of the tractor or bike and locking the sheds, but it's often that simple stuff that puts burglars off.
"Though if farmers are using cameras, it will certainly help us to catch anyone who does try and break into their property."