Historically high cattle prices add to the risk of theft, says Louisiana State University Extension beef specialist Allen Nipper. “Many law enforcement personnel say small-scale producers seem to be the most likely targets of cattle thieves because of lack of surveillance and ease of getting access to the cattle,” he says. “However, everyone should be aware of the potential.” Nipper offers these tips to reduce your risk of losing cattle to thieves:
* Lock gates as a deterrent. Thieves normally look for “easy pickings.”
* Use permanent identification on livestock.
* Put driver’s license number in an inconspicuous place on all equipment and tack.
* Videotape animals and high-cost supplies on a routine basis. File complete and accurate de-scriptions of each valuable item.
* Count livestock regularly as a quick inventory check.
* Try to store supplies, fuel and equipment, especially any that could be pulled with a vehicle, out of view.
* Keep storage rooms, fuel tanks, outside cabinets and compartments locked.
* If you plan to build barns, pens, corrals, etc., consider their accessibility to thieves.
* Never leave keys in tractors or other equipment.
* Park equipment that can be locked in a manner to block other equipment from being moved.
* Consider an electronic surveillance system. Prices of such systems have declined in recent years.
* Depending on the facility location, consider installation of night lights.
* If you discover thieves on your property, do not try to apprehend them. Contact local law enforcement.
* Report any agricultural crime as soon as possible to local law enforcement and your state brand commission, if applicable.