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San Jacinto County News - Breakout

Adhering to holiday security awareness

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GregCapersSheriffNow that we are into the holiday season, I thought I would extend some safety and security tips to heighten your holiday security awareness. FBI statistics show that crime rates increase by an average of 30 percent during the Thanksgiving-Christmas holiday season.

During this season many people are out Christmas shopping. They are often distracted and carrying large amounts of cash and expensive gifts. Criminals know this and do their own shopping by taking advantage of such tempting opportunities to separate you from your cash and belongings.

Either in your place of employment or shopping, staying alert is probably the most important thing you can do to keep from becoming a victim of a holiday theft.

With only a few days left until Christmas, here are some tips for protecting you, your family, and friends.

•It may be difficult but be careful not to become distracted when managing shopping boxes and bags to include handbags as this makes you an easy target. Ensure your handbag or wallet is secure and keep cell phones out of sight. Keep your checkbook and credit cards separate and avoid carrying too much cash or leaving valuables in plain sight in your car.

•December is normally a month filled with celebrations and social events, so beware of leaving your belongings unattended.

•When out and about, make sure someone knows where you are going and when you will return.

•Although we all love showing off our Christmas trees and our colorfully decorated homes, this can also act as a beacon for thieves ready to take some of your valuable belongings, or even worse cause you physical harm. To minimize this exposure, close your blinds or partially restrict the view into areas inside your home.

•If you are planning to go out for the evening, leave some lights on.

•If you are going on vacation, put an automatic timer on your inside lights.

•If you have a home security alarm system, make using it a priority.

•Make sure all doors and windows have secondary locks and deadbolts for your doors.

•Don’t hide spare keys in your mailbox or planters or under doormats.

•Ensure all door areas and entrances points to include garage doors have outdoor lights that are turned on after dark or are activated by sensors.

•Keep trees and shrubbery trimmed so they do not conceal doors and windows. Remember, overgrown foliage can provide a hiding place for criminals.

•Consider a bank safe deposit box for coins, stamp collections, seldom-worn jewelry, stocks and bonds, etc.

•Lock your vehicle and remove all valuables, even in your driveway.

•Use extreme caution anytime there is a stranger at your door.

•Be suspicious of unexpected sales calls or deliveries. Always ask for identification, and do not under any circumstances let anyone inside your home unless you are convinced it’s safe to do so.

•Be aware of scams that criminals commit to take advantage of people’s generosity during the holidays.

•Investigate charities before making donations.

•If you are leaving for the holidays, ask a trusted friend, neighbor, or neighborhood watch member to watch your home.

•Remember to make arrangements for mail and newspaper deliveries to be suspended while you are away for an extended period.

•After the holidays don’t advertise expensive toys, electronics, or other expensive items you have received by the boxes left for garbage collection. Compress large boxes and place them in a black garbage bag for pick up.

•Avoid what hass now become very common — porch piracy. Have packages delivered to your work, if possible. Leave specific drop off instructions for the delivery person. If comfortable, leave your mobile phone number for the delivery person so you can be reached if there is an issue.

If you believe you’ve become a victim of porch piracy, check with your delivery company to make sure your package actually was delivered. Know exactly what’s in the missing box. If you see the suspect thief, pay attention to what his or her vehicle looks like and its license plate number. Get the thieves’ physical description — gender, approximate height and weight, and what they’re wearing. Then immediately call 911 and give all that information to my dispatch person who will immediately dispatch a deputy who will advise you of what action will be taken.

Under no circumstances should you attempt to make contact with the individual(s), nor should you draw attention that you are observing them.

It is my wish and the wishes of all your Sheriff’s Office personnel that you and your family have a blessed and safe holiday season.

As always, I hope you find this information informative as well as helpful. Should you suspect any illegal activity of this nature or for anything you are concerned about please contact my office’s emergency number 911 for an immediate response.

Should you need assistance of a non-emergency nature please feel free to call (936) 653-4367 and our dispatch person will route your call to the appropriate department for assistance.

Greg Capers is Sheriff of San Jacinto County.

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Parade Winners

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Children and parents ride the Coldspring version of The Polar Express. (Right) Robby from Browder Marina was wishing everyone a Merry Christmas. PHOTOS BY charles ballardChildren and parents ride the Coldspring version of The Polar Express. (Right) Robby from Browder Marina was wishing everyone a Merry Christmas. PHOTOS BY charles ballard

Special to the News-Times

The winners of the Hometown Christmas parade of lights in Coldspring on Saturday are:

•Golf Carts — Lakeview Hills

•Business — Atwood Bail Bonds

•Organizations — Shepherd Volunteer Fire Department/Auxillary

•Church — Family Faith Church

•School — Calvary Christian Academy

•Political — Keith Pinkston

•Fire Truck — Punkin Volunteer Fire Department

•Best of Show Youth — Lincoln Junior High Cheerleaders

•Best of Show — Family Faith Church

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County OKs change in OSSF fees

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SanJacCountySealBy Tony Farkas
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

COLDSPRING — The San Jacinto County Commissioners Court approved an increase to On-Site Sewage Facilities permits to cover costs imposed by the state.

At its regular meeting Nov. 29, the county added $10 to the fee because the state of Texas charges the county that amount.

County Judge Fritz Faulkner said that during a recent audit by state officials, it was found the county had not paying the fee. He pointed out the state had missed the payments as well, and there should be a statute of limitations on the missed payments.

Commissioner Donnie Marrs pointed out the county had not paid around $1,600.

In other business, the county:

•approved adding CASA to the jury donation form;

•approved a budget amendment for court reporting;

•approved the bond renewal for Constable Ray Atchley;

•approved issuing credit cards to the Justice of the Peace Precinct 1 and 4 offices, with a $2,500 limit;

•approved a donation from Ken White of 25 bicycles, which will be given to children nominated by school officials;

•declared old culvert parts, a chip spreader and a gradall as salvage;

•declared bent light poles, a pup trailer, an F70 Freightliner dump truck, 4x6 I beams, fence posts and guard rail material as surplus to be auctioned off;

•discussed applications for a code officer in executive session;

•discussed progress on a flood gauge project; and

•approved the final plat for a Staley Ridge subdivision.

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Cockfighting not exactly a victimless crime

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GregCapersSheriffIf you are reading this article, then you more than likely you enjoy the San Jacinto News-Times and have read about the arrest and seizures my office has made on cockfighting in March 2022 and most recently in November.

Cockfight derbies, as they are known, often attract hundreds of people, as was the case in the November arrest and seizure in Cleveland. A wide range of criminal activities, like illegal gambling, home invasion, drug trafficking, human trafficking, illegal weapons sales and even murders are not uncommon, which creates a dangerous situation for my deputies, county residents, and even non-residents of our community.

Gambling is the norm at cockfights, and the primary reason the fights occur. Hundreds of thousands of dollars can exchange hands as spectators and animal owners wage on the fate of their birds.

In organized cock fights, the roosters natural fighting instincts are exaggerated through breeding, feeding, training, steroids, and vitamins. A bird may undergo several months of training before a fight.

Fights may be held in abandoned buildings, backyards, farms and can last anywhere from a few seconds to 15 minutes. While the rules usually do not require one or both birds to die to declare a winner, death is often the outcome due to the severity of injuries.

Even birds that aren’t killed during cockfights suffer terribly. Most roosters live tied to a stake or in a small wooden cage. They are often injected with steroids and adrenaline-boosting drugs, and for 2 to 3 weeks prior to the fight are kept in that small cage to isolate them from other animals and deprive them of stimuli and natural behavior.

Regardless of how exhausted or injured they become during a fight; the bird cannot escape from the fighting pen. Common injuries include punctured lungs, broken bones and pierced eyes, yet they are forced to continue to fight. The razor-sharp steel blades, or gaffs, which resemble a 3-inch long curved ice pick tied to the bird’s leg are so sharp and dangerous that cockfighter owners themselves have been killed when accidentally slashed by their own birds.

Cockfighting is illegal in Texas as well as the other 49 states and the District of Columbia. In Texas, however, cockfighting is permissible under certain circumstances, namely, “if the actor was engaged in bona fide experimentation for scientific research.”

Federal investigations have uncovered international drug cartels running sophisticated cockfighting operations as a means of distributing illegal drugs across our county and beyond.

If there is a bright side to the arrest and seizure that my office is responsible for is the seizures resulting in hundreds of thousands of dollars collected upon conviction in a court of law.

I should like to add that these arrest and seizures were a direct result from residents of the county who contacted my office to report what they believe to be illegal activity which prompted an investigation, arrests, and prosecution which are now under way.

As always, I hope you find this information informative as well as helpful. Should you suspect any illegal activities of this nature please contact my office at the non-emergency number (936) 653-4367 for assistance or in any emergency, please call 911.

Greg Capers is Sheriff of San Jacinto County.

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