Innovative Solutions for Farm Crime Prevention: A High Distinction Report on Drone-Facilitated Crime

06 Jun 2024 Written by Maddi Ramponi | University of New England | Law & Criminology Student

In today’s rapidly advancing technological landscape, drones have become a double-edged sword. While they offer numerous benefits in agriculture, such as crop monitoring and aerial surveillance, they also pose significant risks when misused. Our CRIM312 Professional Practice in Criminology group, in collaboration with the NSW Police Force Rural Crime Prevention Team and the New Zealand Police Force, recognised this emerging threat and proposed an innovative solution to combat drone-facilitated farm crime through a smartphone app. Our report on this topic received a grade of 95%, earning us a high distinction.

Drone-facilitated farm crime involves the unauthorised use of drones to survey and steal agricultural assets. These crimes can range from livestock theft to the illegal capture of proprietary crop information. The anonymity and ease of operation provided by drones make them an attractive tool for criminals. Therefore, addressing this issue requires a multifaceted approach combining technology, community engagement, and law enforcement collaboration.

Our proposed solution centres around the development of a sophisticated smartphone app designed to prevent and mitigate drone-facilitated crimes on farms. The app incorporates several key features including:

  • Reporting capabilities to log suspicious activity
  • GPS and geotagging allowing precise locations to be recorded
  • Uploading of multimedia evidence including photos and videos
  • Anonymous reporting capabilities
  • Can be utilised without mobile coverage
  • Enhanced communication between farmers and users of drones, as well as increased communication with policing authorities
  • Capabilities to track the progression of their complaint

Feedback from the University and Police Force indicated a positive response to our proposed solution. We are optimistic that our proactive approach can be instrumental in combating the evolving threat of drone-facilitated farm crime in Australian rural communities.


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