One in 10 farmers has been a victim of crime
on 10/09/2012 00:00:00
The survey of 500 farmers, carried out in recent weeks, found:
*49% felt crime levels had increased in the past 12 months, 47% reported no change, and only 4% said it had fallen;
* 37% said they felt less safe in their homes, 57% reported no change, and 5% said they felt safer;
* 43% said the Garda presence in their area had reduced, 48% said there was no change, and 9% reported an increase;
* 53% were either dissatisfied or totally dissatisfied with Mr Shatter's efforts to protect rural communities;
* 49% said they were either dissatisfied or totally dissatisfied with the Garda presence in their area in the last 12 months.
The survey found that 11% of farmers were victims of crime and that most had taken efforts to increase their own safety.
About 22% said they had installed burglar alarms, 38% said they had put up outdoor security lighting, while 22% said they had erected security gates.
In addition, 43% said they had joined a neighbourhood watch or community alert group.
Almost all respondents said they actively watched out for suspicious activity in their parish, either always or sometimes.
About 83% said they would be prepared to participate in a voluntary mobile community watch texting service.
IFA president John Bryan said that 13,000 farming households have been victims of crime based on the response rate of 11%.
He said the finding that nearly 37% had begun to feel less safe in their homes over the past 12 months contradicted recent reports that rural crime was falling.
He said Mr Shatter needed to "toughen up" the fight to ensure that the level of rural crime reduced and that people living in the country's 440,000 rural households felt safer in their homes and businesses.
He expressed concern at the finding that 43% of farmers felt the Garda presence in their area had fallen in the last year. He also called on gardaí to improve their relationship with the farming community.
"Communications by the Garda, especially in keeping in touch with victims and reporting back with updates on progress, needs to be improved," said Mr Bryan.
He said there was a "massive bank of support" among farming families to assist gardaí.
Mr Bryan said the IFA, in association with Muintir na Tire, had made proposals to gardaí in relation to a voluntary texting service.
He said this would involve the wider community reporting suspicious activity to assist in solving rural crimes.