Sheriff Hancock warns: Secure your valuables

Published 4:06 pm Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Crisp County Sheriff Billy Hancock is advising residents to lock up their valuables to minimize the chance that they become a victim of crimes of opportunity like auto burglaries and theft.

Hancock, who not only runs the sheriff’s office but serves as the county’s emergency management director, has helped lead the community’s COVID-19 response and seen firsthand the dire economic impact of the pandemic in Crisp County.

The long-serving public safety professional wants residents to avoid being an easy target and simply lock up their valuables.

“Most entering autos occur when a vehicle is left unlocked. Protect your property, remove your valuables, and lock your vehicle,” Hancock said.

Here are some tips from Hancock and the Crisp County Sheriff’s Office that can help you protect your belongings and prevent vehicle burglary.

*Do not leave purses, wallets, laptops, expensive sunglasses, cell phones, or other valuables in plain sight

*Lock all valuables in the trunk or take them with you

*Remove detachable stereos and faceplates every time

*Always lock doors and windows

*Never leave your keys in the vehicle

*Never leave cash visible

*Take valuables inside your house after you park at home for the night or weekend

*Consider purchasing and installing a strong-walled tamper-proof box that can be bolted down and secured with heavy locks for valuables you wish to leave inside your vehicle while unoccupied

*Park in well-lit areas around other vehicles whenever possible

*Be aware of your surroundings

If you observe suspicious activity, call 911.

“Our citizens are our greatest asset, our eyes and ears out and about in our community. We can all help keep our community safe by reporting suspicious activity. Citizens can report suspicious activities, tips, or crimes by calling or texting our tip hotline at (229-322-8891), submitting online at, or calling our office at (229-276-2600). Reporters can remain anonymous if desired,” Hancock said.

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Beal-Shephard tries to weather the storm over City HallBy Neil B. McGahee Managing Editor Cordele City Commissioner Vesta Beal-Shephard was elected in 2001 to represent the people of Ward One. By all accounts, she has done a very good job of relating to the citizens living in her ward. Recently, however, a dark cloud has settled over City Hall. From the first day of his term, newly-elected commission chairman Joshua Antwan Deriso began taking verbal snipes on social media at some of the other commissioners. Shephard says she just ignored it at first but on April 9, Deriso posted on Facebook “…It was much anticipated for Comm. Rainey to be against change. Comission (sp) Shephard fights against me the hardest…does not know much about government at all…She needs to be voted out next year 2023.” A few days later, he posted live saying …“I am totally over the games, the political stuff…a lot of people want to make what I said about Commissioner Shephard something about disagreement with Commissioner Shephard. It was her ignorance and short-sightedness…not able to understand what we can do as a government. “When there were people in charge that didn’t look like us…white people… she didn’t question anything. Since I became chairman, she has blocked everything…you don’t know what you are doing; you don’t know what you are talking about.” Shephard winces as she listens to Deriso. “I don’t do drama and I don’t do pettiness,” she said. “I refute everything he has said about me. I’m not angry with Josh; I am somewhat disturbed that he has targeted me, a citizen of Cordele; a black female…he accused me of loving white folks. Well I do love white folks, and brown folks and black folks — Haitian, Jamaican, Indian, Cuban, Mexican — I have no discrimination to anyone. My job is to facilitate for people in this ward and when I vote, I vote my conviction.” Shephard said she doesn’t know why Deriso has such hard feelings against her. “It’s so sad, I have to say that I never saw it coming,” she said. ”But I have to voice my opinion.” But one sad thing has evolved from this. “This is the first time I have been discriminated against by a fellow commissioner,” she said. “I used to invite people to my home if they had a problem. But I had to stop that. If you want to meet with me, we will have to go to a public area or to my office at city hall. I am going to keep my distance for the simple reason that I don’t want to endanger myself.