The Fresno County Sheriff Department Ag Task Force is responsible for investigating crime related to agriculture. They’re busting more crimes than ever before. But ag crime is on the rise.
Sergeant Rob Dutrow says, “We are still maintaining a 50% recovery rate for Fresno county ag crimes. That’s something I’m proud of, something the unit is proud of. That rate has been pretty continuous now for about the past three years.”
But Dutrow says many otherwise solve-able crimes go cold for one reason.
“A lot of times we find during search warrants we go to large plots of land that have a lot of equipment on it. Nobody can say how they got it. They have no ownership paperwork for any of the property. We assume it is stolen but we can not prove it is stolen.”
The Task Force is urging people to mark their property. And the Fresno Sheriff’s Department has a special program just for that purpose.
Dutrow says, “The Fresno Sheriff’s department has a program of owner applied numbers. Anyone can logon to the internet and request that through www.fresnosheriff.org. You will be guided through there you log in and request an owner applied number. The Sheriff’s Department offers a service where we work with 4H student volunteers and actually go to the property, permanently stamp and mark your equipment with a very specific identification number to that farmer. So should any property be found we can find out, one, if it is stolen, and two, who it belongs to.”
But what’s even better is preventing crime in the first place.
“If you make it difficult for them they’ll move on.”