Family burglarized in rural Effingham community - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Family burglarized in rural Effingham community

EFFINGHAM CO., GA (WTOC) -

An Effingham County family is feeling the sting of city life despite the fact they live miles from any suburb.

A burglary at their quiet, country home has shocked them into warning others in rural communities that times are changing.

They’ll be the first to tell you that crime has even changed what many move to the country for. There is still a mindset - especially among those who have lived in Effingham County a while - that crime doesn't happen there.

But, of course, times have changed and the Effingham County Sheriff is encouraging folks to be proactive, so that they don't become victims like this family.

Sonya Baker and her mom live on a few acres, complete with potbelly pigs. It's certainly not "city life," but this month they were the target of crime people didn't always worry about in rural Effingham County.

"As a matter of fact, the only jewelry that wasn't taken are the earrings that I have on,” said Baker.

Burglars broke-in to their home and stole about $25,000 worth of jewelry, including family heirlooms and her grandparents' wedding rings.

"Those are irreplaceable. I can buy a new tennis bracelet. We can't replace those,” said Baker.

Their doors were locked that night, but that hasn't always been a habit for many in rural communities.

"When I first came to Effingham County back in the 80s, you could go to just about any church or any house and walk in the front door. Nobody locked their doors,” said Sheriff Jimmy McDuffie.

Since then, the county's population has almost tripled. And in the past six months, two of Baker's neighbors were burglarized as well.

While this isn't downtown Savannah, Baker and her mom don't take their safety for granted anymore. They installed a security system and surveillance cameras two days after the break-in.

"I'm not afraid to go downtown, and I wasn't afraid to be in my own home, but I am now,” said Baker.

"And you know it's a shame that you have to worry about that. In Savannah, you expect a little more of that than you do in Effingham, but still when you start getting groups of people together, some of those ain't going to be good people and they're going to cause problems,” said Sheriff McDuffie.

Another way you can be proactive is to take photos and to keep receipts or estimates for all of your jewelry and valuables. Make sure that information is on file with your insurance company, otherwise you may get stuck receiving minimum coverage if anything is ever stolen.

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