Equine crime, unlike most acquisitive crime, is often premeditated. A large proportion of such crime is carried out by professional thieves having a good knowledge of horses and stealing to order. For this reason being vigilant, without putting yourself in danger, is important in protecting your livestock and property.
Look out for signs that your stables or fields are being monitored and make notes of unusual vehicles parked near your boundaries or strangers visiting your premises. Keep an eye out for things which are out of place, plastic bags tied to fencing, painted road markings adjacent to your boundaries these may be signs that you are seen as a potential target.
Keep an eye on your neighbours property and ask them to look out for yours. Joining an active Horsewatch group in your area, is always a good idea. They will keep you informed of any suspicious vehicles or behaviour being sighted locally and you can report similar sightings yourself to forewarn others.
Although it is not possible to make any property 100% secure against a determined thief, certain steps can be taken to lessen the probability of you becoming a victim.
The first is to make things as difficult as possible for a potential thief by having secure boundaries and good quality locks on buildings etc.
The second is to have good guardianship of the items you wish to protect, this may be just the presence of people or alarms and cameras.
The third step is to reduce the perceived value of your property, this is done by identification marking either passive or active in the form of micro chipping and tracking devices.
What prevention methods you need to employ will vary according to individual circumstances. In accessing your security needs you should start with the boundaries and work in towards the potential target you are wanting to protect. Try to view all areas subjectively with the eyes of a potential offender, making each layer a barrier to uninvited visitors.
Most of the Police forces within England and Wales will have some information on Equine Crime prevention on their Web sites. However the quality of the presentation varies enormously. Many other organisations also have crime prevention tips on their own sites.
The information tends to be very similar, so there is little point in reproducing it here as well.
The following will take you to the information provided by Suffolk Police which is informative and well presented.
Tackling crime in the Equestrian community
Some Useful Links
Bull Dog Security Products
UK Horsewatch Alliance
If the worst happens, don’t touch anything, but call the police and your insurance company. If you live in an area with a Horsewatch representative call them too and inform your freezemark and microchip database company. Make sure you keep a decent set of up-to-date photographs of your horse, as this can increase the changes of identifying him and reuniting you. Above all, never give up hope as some horses and owners are reunited months or years after their initial disappearance.