Rural crime cost the Oxfordshire economy an estimated £680,000 in 2013 – down 42% from the previous year – and thieves are looking for tools, quad bikes and garden equipment.
The figures are part of a UK-wide survey by NFU Mutual and have just been released. The leading rural insurer’s annual Rural Crime Survey shows the nationwide cost of rural crime totalled an estimated £44.5m in 2013 – a rise of 5.2%.
Oxfordshire bucked the trend with thefts down from £1million in 2012.
The most common items targeted by thieves in Oxfordshire over the last 12 months were tools, quad bikes and garden equipment.
More than half of staff interviewed from hundreds of NFU Mutual offices in rural communities around the UK also said they’d seen customers suffer repeat crimes or had high-value items stolen.
Although high-value thefts may be planned and highly organised, the number of stolen garden tools and ornaments indicates opportunist thieves continue to target gardens and outbuildings.
Bethany Filmer, NFU Mutual Agent in Witney, said: “The cost of claims in Oxfordshire may have dipped but the threat of crime remains. That’s why it’s important to stay vigilant and fight rural crime. Our experience with people who live and work in rural areas of Oxfordshire clearly shows that theft is more than just a setback – it can be devastating for businesses and families.
“One of the rural community’s best assets is its people who can work together to safeguard the local neighbourhood. That is why NFU Mutual organises the Country Crime Fighters Awards, a nationwide competition to support and encourage fantastic examples of crime prevention taking place in the countryside.
“You can enter or nominate someone on our website.”
For more information visit www.nfumutual.co.uk/ruralcrime