Practical security tips for rural homes, farms, businesses and the community. To stop crime you must report any suspicious or criminal activity.

Review your home and property security

Rural and urban properties are both vulnerable to theft. Protect your home.

  • Trim vegetation that creates concealment opportunities and blocks the line of sight from the house.
  • Install Australian Standard double cylinder deadlocks or deadbolts on all outside doors.
  • Install window locks that are keyed alike for safety and ease of escape in an emergency.
  • Never hide keys outside.
  • Install security interior and exterior lighting. Mount spot or floodlights around buildings that are connected to time switches or movement detectors.
  • Engrave or permanently mark all property with an identifier unique to you (e.g. driver licence no. preceded by a T for Tasmania).
  • Make a detailed inventory of all personal valuables, household and farm equipment. Record serial and model numbers, inscriptions, replacement value and other identifying features. Photograph or video valuable jewellery, antiques and other collectables. Keep inventory and photographs in a safe locked place, preferably offsite, and update regularly.
  • Ensure guns and ammunition are registered and locked in an approved gun cabinet, securely bolted to the floor or wall with two suitable bolts.
  • Vary routines to avoid leaving the property unattended at the same time.
  • Cancel deliveries while away and ask someone to house-sit.
  • Notify Police, trusted friends and neighbours as to where you may be contacted during your absence.
  • Get to know your neighbours.
  • Consider installing a security system.
  • Keep a dog near to the house.


  • Always lock your vehicle, even when unattended for a short time.
  • Close all windows tightly.
  • Never leave keys in the ignition, even at home.
  • Never ‘hide’ spare keys on or around a vehicle.
  • Avoid parking in isolated or darkened areas.
  • Never leave valuables visible inside the vehicle.

Boundary fences and gates

  • Regularly check the condition of boundary fences and gates and repair any damage as soon as possible. Report any deliberate damage or interference to Police.
  • Mount gates securely to strong posts. Secure with heavy duty chains and padlocks.
  • Post “No trespassing” signs around the perimeter of the property.

Storage facilities

  • Construct storage facilities within sight of the house.
  • Use strong materials and heavy-duty roller shutters or metal gates that can be locked shut.
  • Keep areas neat and organised so that losses are easily noticed.
  • Install sensor lights.

Farm machinery, tools and equipment

  • Store machinery, tools and other farm equipment in a secure, locked shed.
  • Position equipment out of sight from the main road and where it can be seen from the house.
  • Engrave or permanently mark all equipment in at least two places, including any removable parts with a unique identifi er (e.g. driver licence no. preceded by a T for Tasmania).
  • Use a welder to engrave large items so that they can be recognised even if offenders attempt to grind the marks off.
  • Never leave keys in the ignition or hidden on the vehicle.
  • Disable equipment when not in use.
  • Lock cab doors or install hasps and padlocks on the doors.
  • Secure equipment to strongly anchored objects (e.g. trees) with heavy chains and case hardened locks.
  • Install radios that operate only with the use of a security code.

Fuel tanks

  • Fuel tanks should be locked and visible from the house.
  • Dip fuel tanks daily and install a fl ow meter to monitor fuel usage.
  • Return mobile fuel tanks to a secure place.
  • Install flameproof sensor lights that light a large area around fuel tanks.
  • Put lockable caps on fuel outlets to prevent theft.

Chemicals and fertilisers

  • Store fertilisers, pesticides and herbicides in their original containers in dedicated locked areas separate from animal health chemicals, stockfeed and fuel.
  • Contact Workplace Standards for advice on authorisations and security requirements for all hazardous materials, including explosives.
  • Maintain a full inventory of on-farm chemicals including the product name, container description, formulation type, batch numbers, manufacturers’ name, expiry dates.

Keep inventory in a safe place.


  • Padlock gates and loading ramps to prevent unauthorised use.
  • Build stockyards away from the road and in sight of the house


  • Identify all livestock upon receipt or soon after birth using permanent registered forms of identification such as earmarks, brands, ear tags and/or tattoos.
  • Video or photograph valuable stock.
  • From 1 July, 2005, all cattle must be identified with a National Livestock Identification Scheme (NLIS) electronic device before leaving any property.
  • All sheep and goats born from 1 January 2006 must be identified with an NLIS Sheep Breeders Tag before being dispatched to a saleyard or another property.
  • Regularly check livestock and report any suspected losses to police as soon as possible.
  • Maintain accurate records of livestock numbers, purchases and sales.

Shearing sheds

  • Lock handpieces, combs and cutters, stencils, brands, wool bales and other tools-of-trade equipment away.
  • Use only reputable shearing contractors.
  • Lock chutes, windows and doors leading into/out of the shed.

Grain, hay and seed

  • Protect grain, hay and seed in locked storage areas visible from the house.
  • Lock all loading equipment when not in use.


  • Keep a record of valuable timber. Mark each piece with a permanent paint.
  • Tell neighbours when someone will be harvesting timber on the property, particularly in remote areas.


Be aware of your local area and help to keep your community safe.

  • Report any damage or suspicious activity in or around public areas, schools, local forested areas, national parks and public utilities.
  • Report any illegal taking of, or damage to, fl ora and fauna.
  • Note the registration and description of cars seen in an area frequently or for long periods of time.
  • Be aware of public utilities in your area such as power lines, substations, power stations, pipelines, communications equipment, etc.
  • Be aware of areas of cultural signifi cance, such as rock art, indigenous protected land.
  • Use and join community groups, such as Bush Watch and
  • Neighbourhood Watch to keep informed about crime prevention strategies and initiatives.

Bush Watch

Bush Watch is a community crime prevention initiative.

If you would like to join or form a Bush Watch group in your area please contact your Community Policing officer for further information, phone 6230 2178.

Important Contact Numbers

  • Police, Fire, Ambulance
    Triple Zero (000)
    112 (GSM digital mobile phones)
    Call in an emergency or when a crime is in progress.
  • Non-urgent Police assistance
    131 444 or your Local Police Station
    Call for non-emergency situations.
  • Bush Watch & Crime Stoppers
    1800 333 000
    to report any information on crime or suspicious activity anonymously.  Rewards may be offered.

If a crime does occur, always:

  • Report it to the police immediately
  • Try and remember as much detail as possible:
    • what has happened
    • what exactly was stolen
    • when the crime may have occurred
    • descriptions of vehicles, note registration numbers, colours, dents, car detailing and additions
    • descriptions of people.

Thank you to NSW Police and Dr Elaine Barclay, Rural Futures Institute of NSW,
for their assistance with this brochure and its content.

© 2005 Stop Crime in Rural and Remote Areas