Crimes reportedly rising on farms, ranches

IMMOKALEE — There have been increasing reports of property crimes being committed on agricultural properties in Florida.

At the University of Florida IFAS Southwest Florida Research and Education Center, Associate Director for Stakeholder Relations Gene McAvoy advises: “Just a heads-up to review and tighten up your on-farm/ranch security — especially now that social distancing and COVID-19 may result in fewer people and eyes on the farm.

“I have a growing number of reports of equipment being stolen, and animals being stolen or fences being cut and animals slaughtered on site.

“We have seen this before in times of rising unemployment.

“Be sure to mark equipment, refrain from maintaining large inventories of chemicals, etc,. on farm, secure fuel tanks; lock gates. Installing cameras can be a good investment. They are relatively cheap, and wireless units can send alerts to your phone.

“Keep your eyes open and watch out for your neighbor as well, and report suspicious activity to the sheriff’s department.”

Mr. McAvoy is a Regional Vegetable Extension Agent IV Emeritus, having served in Glades and Hendry counties for decades. He is also president of the National Association of County Agricultural Agents.

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