The Crime Prevention Website



I have divided this chapter into the following seven sections: 


This large chapter provides crime prevention advice for the significant number of our population who live and work in our countryside. 

According to official statistics from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) The rural population of England in 2014/15 was 9.3 million people or 17 per cent of the total population of England. Around 581,000 people or 1.1 per cent of the population of England live in settlements described as being ‘in a sparse setting’.  And there’s a lot of countryside in England too with 87% of England’s land described as ‘green space’. 

Whilst there are certain crimes that are more or less specific to the countryside, the overall volume of crime in the rural setting is lower and in some cases much lower than that experienced by people living in an urban area. That being said, lower volumes of crime is not an absense of crime and if people fail to heed sensible crime prevention advice crimes in the countryside are often much more easily committed and are less likely to attract witnesses. In any event, rural crime is a real and present problem for rural inhabitants, which is why I have included this special section. I might add that I have some experience of rural crime insomuch that I am married to a Herefordshire farmer’s daughter and regularly worked on a farm in Devon during school holidays! 

Crime Data

Finding reliable data for rural crime is not easy, but I have included information from both the Office for National Statistics (ONS) and well-known insurer 'NFU Mutual' 

Rural Crime Statistics England 2012/13 (Office for National Statistics)


Offence type

Offences per 1,000 population


Predominantly Rural

Predominantly Urban

Violence against the person 









Domestic burglary



Vehicle crime



The above comparison table shows us that certain common 'property' crimes are much lower in rural areas than in the urban environment. For example, rural vehicle crimes are exactly half the level that you would expect in the city and rural burglary is more than two-and-a-half times lower. Robbery, the majority of which involve the theft from a person with violence or the threat of violence, is some nine times lower in the countryside.

These lower crime figures do not mean that rural inhabitants don't feel the effects of crime and it is quite common for those affected to feel more vulnerable than people living in the cities. This is often because the victim is and does feel more isolated and in many cases lacks the immediacy of the many support services one might expect in a more urban environment. Rural inhabitants do not expect the same level of police patrolling either and many feel they are very much on their own when it comes to preventing crime. Lots of police forces have recognised this problem and in recent years have set up rural policing initiatives in attempt to redress the imbalance.

The rural environment also experiences  its own set of rural specific crime types and to highlight these differences I have reproduced elements of NFU Mutual's rural crime report below.     

An Estimated Measure of Rural Crime across the United Kingdom

The following information, based upon claims data from and analysis by NFU Mutual, has been taken from NFU Mutual’s annual crime report for Rural Crime published in 2016 

The Headlines for rural crime comparing 2015 with 2014  

  • The Cost of Rural Theft in 2015 was an estimated £42.5m. This is up 0.4% on 2014
  • The worst affected regions remain the North East and East of England, costing £7.9 and £6.9 million respectively
  • The largest rises in rural theft were in the Midlands, up 10% and Northern Ireland, up 13% on 2014 figures
  • Scotland and the South East saw the largest reductions of 6% and 9% respectively
  • Scotland had the lowest cost for rural crime at £1.7 million, closely followed by Wales, costing £2 million
  • Tractors proved particularly vulnerable in the East and North East of England where a spate of high value thefts occurred and accounted for almost half of the total cost across the UK
  • The costs of quad bike (ATV) theft saw a 6% reduction, with Scotland seeing a 40% drop following a large scale initiative to provide specialist training to the police force
  • Livestock rustling remains a huge problem with a cost ot the UK economy of £2.9 million.  Costs remain stubbornly high in Northern Ireland and in the North East and the South West of England, which between them accounted for 70% of the total cost
  • Equine tack and equipment thefts reduced by 41% – a huge reduction seen across almost every region. NFU Mutual accredits this fall to the many Horse Watch Schemes operating across the UK 

Top five targeted (rural) theft items across the UK

  • ATV/Quad Bikes
  • Machinery
  • Farm and Commercial tools
  • Garden equipment
  • Livestock 

Top five types of (rural) crimes across the UK

  • Vehicle theft
  • Burglary
  • Rural business theft
  • Livestock theft
  • Vandalism 

See also the NFU Rural Crime leaflet 

Advantages for criminals working in the rural environment 

So, now that we have a feel for the rural crime issues what are the advantages and disadvantages for a criminal operating in the rural environment?


  • Fewer witnesses
  • Unprepared victims and often a lower level of building security (a lower expectation of crime reduces the motivation to prevent it)
  • Less physical police presence due to the large geographical areas
  • A myriad of roads and country lanes to avoid capture
  • High value property (agricultural plant, farm vehicles, livestock, machinery, heritage, fuel)


  • Fewer and/or spread out targets (people, buildings, vehicles)
  • Distance of travel
  • Close knit communities who recognise strangers

In conclusion it is quite clear to me that those living in the countryside need as much help from the police and others to counter the opportunities for crime. To that end I have embarked on creating this new website chapter to provide some much needed guidance. It will probably take me until the end of this year (2017) to complete it and thereafter I will be updating the content as and when new information comes to light. If you live in the rural environment and would like me to add something I might have missed please do not hestitate to contact me.