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A recovered tractor stolen from a farm in the south..(Photo by: POLICE SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)
Police war against agricultural crime yielding fruit
Thefts nationwide down 18% in first half of 2017 from same period last year.
Thefts nationwide down 18% in first half of 2017 from same period last year • By DANIEL K. EISENBUD From livestock theft to stolen tractors and fruits and vegetables, the Israel Police is winning its war against agricultural crime.

The Agricultural Crimes Unit of on Monday said efforts to curtail agricultural crimes have yielded a 56% drop in cattle thefts, a 62% reduction in tractor thefts, and a 17% increase in arrests during the first half of this year compared to the same period in 2016, According to the unit, 989 animals were stolen in the first half of 2017 compared to 2,245 in the first half of 2016; 18 tractors were stolen this year compared to 47 last year; and 93 suspects were arrested this year, compared to 78 during the same period in 2016.

Moreover, there was a 136% increase in the number of indictments filed against agricultural crime offenders in the first half of 2017 (78), compared to the corresponding period last year (38).

“These declines are the result of determined and uncompromising enforcement to identify the individuals and gangs involved in agricultural theft,” the Israel Police said in a statement Monday.

“The figures unequivocally demonstrate the high efficiency of police activities in this area, which combines several layers of enforcement – including ongoing, overt and covert activity carried out by Border Police, and the use of sophisticated intelligence and technological means.”

Among the suspects arrested were gangs of thieves who worked together throughout the country to steal goats, cows, sheep, chickens, tractors and other farming equipment, and fruits and vegetables.

“The Israel Police and the Border Police will continue to fight against agricultural crime in all its forms, with the aim of arresting and prosecuting offenders, preventing and thwarting agricultural crimes, and ensuring the safety and integrity of farmers’ property in Israel,” the statement said.

Still, Zionist Camp MK Eytan Broshi, chairman of the Knesset’s Agricultural Lobby, said “agricultural terrorism” – primarily arson – continues to plague many farmers across the nation.

Noting that a southern refrigeration and packaging center and thousands of fruit containers were recently set on fire, Broshi said, “In recent weeks, there has been a dramatic increase in agricultural arson, despite the efforts of the security forces.”

“I am in contact with the Prime Minister’s Office and the minister of public security in order to hold a discussion headed by the minister of justice and the participation of all parties,” he continued.

“We must define agricultural crime as terrorism that harms the security of rural areas, and the entire country.”
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