Friday, November 07, 2014

Farm Watch program in Central Iowa encourages rural residents to report suspicious activity

A partnership between DuPont and the sheriff's office in Story County, Iowa, has introduced a neighborhood watch-inspired program to Central Iowa. Called Farm Watch, the program encourages the county's 92,000 residents—along with frequent visitors, such as delivery drivers—to report suspicious activities in an attempt to help protect farms and rural landowners from theft and other crimes, Kathy Varney reports for Illinois Farmer Today. (DuPont photo)

The program asks farmers and rural residents to place signs on or near their property. Each sign has a phone number to report suspicious activity, Varney writes. Story County Sheriff Paul Fitzgerald said in a newsletter introducing the program, “We want to educate our citizens on the importance of being observant and help them learn observation skills that can be employed in Farm Watch.”

So far 60 people have signed up for the program, and 93 signs have been placed in rural areas, said Lt. Leanna Ellis, Story County field services commander, Varney writes. Fitzgerald told Varney, "People are sometimes hesitant to call us if they see something’s not quite right, but this will make it easier to take that step and call. They are not bothering us—and we’re here 24 hours a day.” (Read more)

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