Constable Tipton Speaks to TAGHS on Crime Prevention

November 22, 2021 - “Watching the news from Shreveport, Tyler, or Lufkin, most Timpson residents are comforted by the fact that the crimes reported from those cities don't happen around here much. The truth is, they are getting closer to us every day,” warned Precinct 5 Constable Josh Tipton in his opening remarks to the November meeting of the Timpson Area Genealogical and Heritage Society on Wednesday.

“For example”, continued Tipton, “who in the world would have thought that we would have an armed robbery in Timpson, but just a few months ago someone held up one of the dollar stores. In fact, most people think the words 'theft' and 'robbery' mean the same thing, so when I first got the call from the store manager reporting the robbery I thought she meant a shop-lifting incident. I told her I'd be down after a little while but she said 'Josh, we've been ROBBED!' I said 'Do you mean with a GUN?' She said 'YES' so I said 'I'm sorry! I'll be right there”!

“Don't think you can't be a crime victim just because you live down a dirt road outside of Timpson, because you can,” emphasized Tipton. “Statistically, criminals look for the easiest opportunity to commit a crime. Around here, that is usually theft, so don't make it easy for someone to steal your stuff. For example, if you're through mowing your yard, put your mower away rather than leaving it out in the yard where a thief can easily walk away with it,” Tipton explained. “Also, keep your garage door down,” he continued.  “If you notice something around your place that could easily be stolen, secure it, because a thief will notice it too”. Tipton encouraged TAGHS members to install a game camera or two around their property. “They are cheap security and are a great aid to law enforcement in the event a theft occurs,”, he said.

“I can remember spending the night at my grandparents' house off Rose Hill Road when I was growing up with the windows up and the doors unlocked,” Tipton revealed. “We wouldn't dare do that now!” he said. “A home invasion occurs when thieves burst into your home while you are there. I don't recall us having a situation like this in Timpson but that doesn't mean it couldn't happen. When you're home keep your doors locked,” he added. “If you rent your home, you should change all the locks. There is no telling how many keys to your house are floating around in the hands of former tenants.”

In the Digital Age, not all thefts are committed in person and Constable Tipton addressed telephone and internet scams as well. “Step one in preventing crimes of this type is do not give out personal or financial information to people who call you on the phone. Some scammers represent themselves as law enforcement or governmental officials and demand immediate payment of funds over the telephone. Don't be fooled. Any legitimate governmental or law-enforcement agency will contact you in writing if you owe them money. Just hang up,” Tipton advised. TAGHS members offered personal experiences with a wide variety of on-line and telephone scams which had been tried on them, many of which targeted senior citizens.

“People needs to be extra careful when shopping, buying gas, or running errands in their cars, especially around the holidays. Always lock your car and never leave valuables in view,” Tipton warned. “ Generally, the larger the parking lot, the more danger there is. Park as close to the entrance as you can. Be wary of strangers approaching you in parking lots. Trust your instincts. If something seems wrong, it probably is. Get into your car, lock the doors, and drive away.

The Timpson Area Genealogical Society meets at 2PM on the third Wednesday of each month in the meeting room of the Timpson Public Library on the corner of Austin and Bremond Streets in downtown Timpson.  The TAGHS library is located within the Timpson Public Library and is open and staffed from 9AM until 5PM weekdays. Telephone 936-254-2966 and ask for the Genealogical Library.