At a recent Fresno County Agricultural Law Section meeting, Sergeant Arley Terrence with the Fresno County Ag Crimes Task Force (the “Task Force”) gave a presentation on ag crime prevention. He shared some useful information that we thought might be helpful for you in protecting your farm property.
The Task Force has six Detectives, each of which is assigned to his own zone within Fresno County. The Task Force offers several free services to farming operations and rural landowners such as the installation and monitoring of surveillance cameras and GPS trackers. The Task Force will also issue specially assigned identification numbers that are stamped on important or expensive equipment and help link recovered stolen property to its owner.
Surveillance Cameras. If you have had your property vandalized or stolen, the Task Force will install and monitor a wireless surveillance system on your property. The system notifies investigating officers any time there is a breach in a camera’s field of view, which allows them to immediately follow up on a potential crime, often before you are aware it has happened.
GPS Trackers. In areas with a high incidence of farm vehicle theft (e.g., utility vehicles, tractors, etc.) the Task Force will install GPS trackers on your vehicles and track them if they are stolen.
Decoy Vehicles. If you do not want to risk losing your own vehicles to theft, you can use decoy vehicles from the Task Force. The Task Force has its own fleet of vehicles equipped with GPS trackers that can be planted on your property to bait thieves. The Task Force will track stolen decoy vehicles without putting you at risk of losing your own property.
Owner Applied Numbers (OANs). The Task Force highly recommends using OANs on all your valuable property. If you request an OAN, the Sheriff’s Department will assign an identifying number to you and then send an officer to stamp your property. If your property is stolen and later recovered, the OAN helps the Sheriff’s Department identify you as the owner, which helps them return the property to you. The Sheriff’s Department will stamp all major equipment such as valuable tools, tractor implements, vehicles, and large batteries used for large machinery. If you later decide to sell your stamped property, you can either remove the number from the property yourself or update the Sheriff’s Department with the new owner’s contact information.
Other Crime Prevention Tips:
The Fresno County Sheriff’s Department website provides additional information about rural crime prevention. Some of their suggestions include:
Use OANs on all your major equipment, tools, chemical storage containers, irrigation pipe, metals, harvest bins and anything else of value.
Ensure your address is clearly marked. This helps first responders find you more quickly.
Check your fences, gates, and locking mechanisms frequently to make sure they are in good condition. Do not leave your gates unlocked during the day with a padlock hanging open. It is not uncommon for criminals to switch out your open padlock with one of their own that allows them to re-enter at night and take your property.
Post “No Trespass” signs on your property. For a “No Trespass” sign to be legally enforceable, it must be at least 12-inches square with 2-inch lettering.
If you are currently experiencing problems with agricultural-related crimes, contact the Task Force at (559) 600-8150 or email@example.com.