Crime on the Rise in Rural Areas

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CLAY COUNTY, Mo. -- A lot of people feel living in the country gives them a sense of security. That may not be the case anymore.

In Clay County alone burglaries in rural areas jumped 82 percent in 2011. Now, unincorporated doesn't mean unprotected anymore.

"I'm way out in the middle of no where you don't know it's here unless... you got to know where you're going to get here so I always felt like it was pretty safe," said crime victim Randy Miller.

Thieves changed that.

"My shed here got broke into last year and I lost about close to $50,000 worth of equipment,"  he said.

Miller is not alone. The Clay County Sheriff says bad guys are counting on the goodness of people who live out in the country. They look at Clay County's rural road map. The grey boxes show all the places that burglaries have happened.

"The homes are farther apart and the acreage is looked at by-- the burglars and the thieves know they can go to one house and may not even arouse suspicion of a neighbor," said Sheriff Bob Boydston.

The sheriff says Clay County is making these unincorporated areas a priority.

"We're trying to make more of a visible presence," Sheriff Boydston said. "We used to lay low and try to sneak up on the burglars, now we want them to see that we've got every possible asset we have out on the roads, in the neighborhoods and subdivisions."

Sheriff's deputies are also meeting with neighbors to offer tips on how people can protect themselves and their neighbors.

"You gotta be vigilant," Miller said.  "My neighbors are now watching out for me and I'm watching out for them and don't take being remote as safety because it's not anymore."

The police and sheriff's department recovered all of    items. While the burglary numbers are up, they say so are the number of suspects being put behind bars. The sheriff says neighbors are the most helpful when it comes to cracking burglary cases.

At least three times he says a neighbor has called, they have caught the burglar and recovered the stolen property before the homeowner even knew it was missing.

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