Rural Crime Prevention Program

Rural crimes

Recently, the Merced District Attorney’s Office, using state Ag crime grant funds, assigned a District Attorney Investigator to the full time task of investigating Ag crimes. This position supports the dedicated Deputy District Attorney already assigned to prosecute Ag crimes and rounds out this office’s commitment to fight the rampant crime which plagues this County’s farmers and ranchers.

Ag crime is short for agricultural crime, and primarily involves the thefts of agricultural equipment and products and the vandalism and destruction of equipment and facilities. The State of California provides grant funds to many of California’s Ag producing counties to help combat these crimes. The loss from crime to the agricultural community is staggering and this office takes very seriously the investigation and prosecution of these types of crime.

Now, with a dedicated investigator who will initiate innovative preventative programs as well as investigate Ag crimes, this office is fully prepared to confront this problem in our county. Our DA investigator will also work closely with the Merced County Sheriff’s Department to supplement their efforts as needed. With two of this County’s law enforcement offices committed to addressing Ag crime, it is hoped that this two pronged approach to the problem will help to ensure protection and justice to our farmers and ranchers.

Mission Statement:

Our Mission is to provide active and professional law enforcement service, using progressive techniques for addressing agricultural crime. The Merced County Rural Crimes Investigations Unit (RCIU) will work in partnership with farmers, ranchers and agriculture-related businesses to combat rising crime rates in rural areas. The program’s main goal is to provide protection for farm and ranch property by aggressively prosecuting suspects involved in rural crime. This unit seeks to build stronger alliances within rural communities to educate the public concerning the extent and seriousness of rural crime. 

If you or someone you know has been a victim of a rural crime, please take the time to fill out a complaint form using the link below, or print out and mail this form to the Merced County District Attorney's Office. 

Online Form

Printable PDF Form

Formulario Imprimible en Espanol

Important Links

Merced County Farm Bureau

California Department of Food and Agriculture

National Equipment Register

About Owner Applied Number (OAN)

A system known as Owner Applied Numbers (OAN), can be used for the protection of equipment, vehicles, and other valuables. This system can be entered into its own specific field in both California Department of Justice (DOJ), and the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) records. The set of additional identification numbers are placed on vehicles, equipment, or other valuables, as a supplemental means of identification to the manufactor's I.D. numbers. 

OAN are usually hand stamped on heavy equipment and will not generally be as large or precise as those applied by the manufacturer. The OAN are most often stamped using 1/8" or 1/4" letters and numbers. in California, the OAN I.D. system uses a 10 digit coded number which is used by the Sheriff's Department and is recommended for business, industry and agriculture. 

The OAN System is composed of ten characters, which identify the state, county, and business. The coded identification number allows local law enforcement to identify stolen property and contact the owner. OAN are stamped in several locations on heavy equipment and may be affixed by metal die stamps, indelible ink, branding iron or electric pencils. 

Be alert for any number that appears to have been secondarily applied to the equipment that is being examined. 

For more information on about OAN, including the application, please visit http://www.da-tulareco.org/PDF/Brochures/OAN-2014.pdf