A central Alberta farmer was left feeling “extremely” frustrated after a trailer was recently burned down on his property.
“I was about to head to bed and I noticed the barn was illuminated with some light. I looked out the window, and sure enough, I saw the trailer was on fire, but there was no sign of anyone around,” said Brandon Depauw, who lives between Blackfalds and Lacombe.
The 28-year-old said the trailer, which was owned by a friend, was worth about $35,000.
“You can’t have anything nice anymore out here without worrying about someone coming around and trying to steal it or light it on fire,” he said Thursday evening.
Rural crime is a growing concern, he added.
“With the collapse of the economy, so many people are out of work and some are desperate. It’s hard to be fully confident being out here anymore and leaving without having to worry.
“Nothing is sacred or safe anymore at your home. You shouldn’t have to worry about that. You can almost chalk up some of the blame to the judicial system.
“A lot of these guys don’t fear going to jail or getting busted by the cops, because they’ll get a slap on the wrist and be out in a month or two.
“Things need to change. Us farmers are not taking this anymore. It has become dangerous for people to be trespassing because us farmers are not putting up with it anymore.”
The same night the trailer was burned down, a neighbour had bales of hay set on fire, said Depauw.
“That’s feed he needs for the winter to feed his cattle,” he said.
“We have a lot of neighbours who look out for each other. Unfortunately, out here, a police response time can be anywhere from five to 20 minutes.”
A couple of years ago, Depauw spotted a truck across the road from his home. He reported it to police and it was determined the truck had been stolen – during the investigation, police found needles, drugs and stolen tools, he added.
Depauw praised the efforts of the Lacombe Volunteer Fire Department, which responded to the blaze.