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EDITORIAL: Everyone can help solving crimes

The bacon was a fabulous idea. That’s enough to get most people’s attention.

But it’s unfortunate that Cooks Brook, N.S., farmer Melvin Burns has been forced to get so creative in his attempt to solve some extremely disturbing instances of crime on his property.

Burns publicized the offer as a reward to help solve some major thefts from his free-range animal farm – a little over two kilograms of Berkshire bacon in the hopes of finding who stole about $1,000 worth of power tools.

But that’s not all that’s gone missing. Back in June someone stole some farmed goods from his property, Moo Nay Farms – 40 chickens, six of his Berkshire pigs and some piglets. In the case of one of the pigs, the farmer found the remains of one that had been butchered on a plastic sheet at the edge of his property.

Needless to say, the person responsible has gone to great lengths to make off with a substantial amount of food.

Getting hit on more than one occasion might suggest his farm is being targeted by someone, but Burns said others in the area have also had items stolen.

Equipment stolen included an 18-volt driver and charger, a 20-volt driver, a grinder, two 20-volt chargers, and a 20-volt drill, all made by DeWalt, also a Mastercraft socket set.

Given the nature of the operation – a free-range farm – it’s apparent someone has taken the concept of a crime of opportunity to a new level. This is especially abhorrent when it involves animals.

But in addition to hoping to solve this – and end the losses – Burns is dealing with it in a different way than we usually think about crime and punishment. If the person responsible feels a twang of conscience, perhaps, and confesses, he said he would offer some work on the farm, along with training – an opportunity to gain a living honestly and learn some skills to become more employable.

But he’s also making an appeal to neighbours and people who live in rural or somewhat isolated areas to keep an eye out for each other’s property and belongings. Get to know your neighbours. The more eyes the better. And presumably in a smaller community or farming area, people have a pretty good idea about who the local residents are, the vehicles that are normally around and what, or who, or the kinds of activities that would seem out of place.

As crime-watch organizations around the province can attest, that kind of community vigilance can make a great difference. Police can’t be everywhere, but the careful observations from community members can go a long way in solving crimes, and preventing them in the first place.

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