More than a third of Kiwi farmers have been a victim of theft in the last two years, a recent survey has revealed.
When Federated Farmers surveyed 1000 farmers in October, about 350 respondents said they had been targeted by thieves.
Chainsaws, shearing gear, generators and fencing tools were the most commonly stolen items. More than a quarter of thefts involved livestock been taken and nearly two per cent of respondents said they had had firearms stolen.
Forty six per cent of farmers had a story to tell about poaching. Some said they heard gunshots at night while others told of confronting armed trespassers.
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Nearly 60 per cent victims of stock theft said they had not reported the crimes to police and neither had 38 per cent of farmers who had property stolen. Many respondents said they thought police would not be interested in the crimes, while others only discovered the theft days or weeks after it happened.
Federated Farmers rural crime portfolio leader Rick Powdrell said by reporting thefts to police farmers could prevent theft and catch offenders.
"It helps the local police build a comprehensive picture of what crime is happening, where and at what time. We have to play our part. Police can't do it on their own. Rural people can't do it on their own."
Police had emphasised their interest in information about thefts "time and again," Powdrell said.
Many farmers were complacent about property security, the survey found.
Just less than half of respondents admitted to leaving their sheds unlocked. But 38 per cent said they had installed sensor lights and one fifth had security cameras.
Only 22 per cent belonged to a rural support group.