(WMC-TV) – Most people are familiar with neighborhood watch programs, but Dyer County officials are taking it a step further by beginning a farm watch program.
Dyer County Sheriff Jeff Box enacted the farm watch program, which is designed to combat agriculture and rural crime across the county. The program consists of local farmers, landowners, agribusinesses, and law enforcement agencies.
The sheriff says the cost of crime in rural and agricultural communities, like Dyersburg, is estimated to be around $5 billion each year.
Sheriff Box is tired of thieves targeting the farmlands in his county.
"We're making a statement," said Sheriff Box. "We're not gonna tolerate it and we're coming after you. It's that simple."
The sheriff is pairing his deputies with farmers to create the farm watch. The program will use the watchful eye of fellow farmers, surveillance cameras, and other technology to stop agriculture crimes.
"They would commonly go after anhydrous ammonia used to make their meth, then they would take copper wire, basically anything they could get, tractor batteries, anything to make money," added Box.
In addition to equipment being stolen, livestock is also targeted by thieves.
"If a crime can be prevented, that means a loss doesn't happen, which means premiums or deductibles aren't affected," said Shane Burchfiel, a farmer in Dyer County who has dealt with thieves. "There's a lot of value in something like that."
Burchfiel believes the program will end up saving farmers thousands in insurance.
If you are in Dyer County and would like to register to be part of the farm watch program, click here: http://dyercountysheriff.com/programs/community-programs/farm-watch/signup-form.html