The number of crimes against the farming community here fell by 11.5% last year, according to the PSNI.
The latest police statistics reveal that the 12 months to December 31, 2017 showed a decrease of 63 recorded offences – from 550 to 497 crimes – when compared with the figures for 2016.
The PSNI released the figures in response to NFU Mutual’s annual Rural Crime Survey, which highlighted the rising cost of rural crime to the Northern Ireland economy, up from £2.5m in 2016 to £2.6m last year.
The document, published on Monday, said many farmers are having to combine high-tech systems with centuries-old security measures in a bid to combat thefts.
Commenting on the survey’s findings, Supt. Brian Kee, PSNI Service Lead for Rural and Wildlife Crime, said police statistics show that the number of crimes against the farming community is falling.
“The number of burglary, robbery and theft offences relating to agricultural-based activity has shown an overall downwards trend since 2010/11, when 937 such offences were recorded. The lowest level recorded was in 2015/16 (514 offences),” he said.
Stressing that police remain committed to further reducing crime in rural areas, he added: “Rural crime can have a detrimental impact on a family, a community and a farming business. And that impact can be more than just financial, that’s why we remain committed to reducing incidents of crime in rural areas.
“We continue to work closely with NFU Mutual and partners in the Rural Crime Partnership to identify preventative measures and to educate the rural community on how best to protect their property and possessions.”