Farm crime remains a focus for police investigators who want residents to take note of unfamiliar vehicles in rural areas.
Detective Senior Sergeant Dave Reither, the police crime coordinator for the south-west, said farm crime was still concerning - whether that involved livestock or equipment, such as chainsaws, quad bikes or other vehicles.
"We are asking farmers to be vigilant. To not leave their keys in vehicles, to lock sheds," he said.
"We are also asking farmers to be aware of unfamiliar vehicles in their areas, to jot down the registration plate number of a different vehicle.
"Report all crimes to Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 across Warrnambool, Moyne, Corangamite, Glenelg and Southern Grampians council areas."
Senior Sergeant Reither said firearm thefts also remained a focus in rural areas, particularly on farms.
"They are our priority when we have one stolen," he said.
Statewide, Victoria Police has warned against complacency, after a drop in farm crimes, including stolen livestock.
The latest Crime Statistics Agency figures showed there was a 12.5 per cent decrease in reported livestock thefts, down to 245 offences in September 2021, from 280 in 2020.
There was also a drop of 20.21 per cent in the total number of property and deception offences recorded at farm locations, from 3170 in 2020 to 2501 in 2021.
Offences ranged from thefts from farmhouses and sheds to criminal damage.
Farm Crime Coordination Unit head Inspector Paul Hargreaves said the coronavirus epidemic was likely to have caused the drop in reported crime.
"There's no doubt coronavirus restricted the movement of many Victorians, which meant that police were able to identify people moving about," he said.
"If you were criminally inclined, there was a fair chance you were going to get caught.
"Some people will take what's not tied down and that's the whole reason we are out and about."
The inspector said police had taken their Farm Crime rural roadshow to the Yea and Warrnambool sales within the past few weeks, after setting up displays at Wodonga and Wangaratta.
"The whole idea is to put ourselves out where the farmers and stock agents are, as an easy point of contact for them to speak about concerns they may have on their property and what they can do to protect themselves from being victims of crime," he said.
Inspector Hargreaves said there were more that 160 contacts at the Wodonga sale.
"The engagement was very, very positive."
He said police knew a significant amount of livestock was still being stolen.
"We know the price of livestock is high, after many years of what could have been considered a tough period for the agricultural sector," he said.
'When they have reached a point where they are starting to make a bit of money, for their hard work, it's really sad and disappointing when their livestock is going missing."
Inspector Hargreaves said the neighbourhood policing approach was effective.
'We have carriers, we have agents, we have friends, there are plenty of eyes and ears out there," he said
'If you hear something, you know something, or you suspect something speak up, contact somebody."
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