Agriculture is an easy target for today's criminal population. To counteract this problem, the Stanislaus County Farm Bureau and the Stanislaus County Sheriff's Department have teamed up in a variety of ways. This year a group of farmers made donations to the Sheriff's Department Rural Crimes Task Force for the purchase of crime prevention equipment – more commonly referred to as bait – that is used to combat rural crime. This highly effective tool is useful in preventing additional crimes by getting criminals off the streets and aiding in quick and efficient prosecution. Many of our criminals are repeat offenders and many times they can be returned to jail or prison without going through a lengthy and expensive trial process – thus saving the taxpayers substantial money.
Together, we are putting on a series of Rural Crime Workshops in each region of Stanislaus County. In summer and fall of 2009, workshops were held in Oakdale, Modesto and Westley. In 2010, workshops are scheduled for Hickman and Turlock in the spring and returning to the other locations in the summer and fall. During these workshops, Sheriff Adam Christianson and members of the Rural Crime Task Force present information on a variety of subjects including identity theft, reporting criminal activity, Owner Applied Numbers (OAN's), trespass permits, concealed weapons education and permits, neighborhood watch group creation and communication opportunities. Loss Prevention Specialists from Nationwide Agribusiness also attend and advise members on their rights and the procedures to follow if they are victims of property crimes.
Farm Bureau also uses technology through the FARMTEAM program. Information is gathered from numerous sources such as Barmont Neighborhood Watch, Merced County Sheriff's Department, San Joaquin County Sheriff's Department and the Stanislaus County Sheriff's Department. This information is then organized and forwarded out via confidential e-mail to FARMTEAM members as soon as possible. Along with direct e-mail, currently thirteen local businesses publicly post the alerts for greater exposure to the community.