Columbia police provide shopping safety tips
Columbia police are reminding shoppers of safety tips when trying to score Black Friday deals.
Authorities emphasize an increase in burglaries during the holiday season. Police advise to lock all car doors at all times and to even change parking spots if going back and forth from one's car.
Shoppers also tend to make large and expensive purchases this time of year. Authorities remind shoppers to be cautious when storing items in their vehicle. Do not leave purchases in plain sight and try to store major items in the trunk.
And though shoppers may be focused on their strategy of obtaining all of their Black Friday deals, police remind residents to remain aware of their surroundings. Though the deals may be tempting, authorities advise that shoppers keep a free hand and avoid carrying too many bags.
For shoppers who prefer to use cash, Columbia police warn of "shoulder surfing" at the ATM. Being aware of one's surroundings can help keep shoppers and their cash safe. Police also recommend when paying cash at the register to separate the money into smaller amounts. The idea is to not show all of one's cash when completing their payment.
Knowing the placement of credit cards, wallets, purses and car keys while shopping will also help prevent theft.
For parents who are taking children along on their shopping spree, police said to have a plan in place if someone gets lost or separated. Making sure kids know how to contact their parents will aid in such issues in bustling and crowded stores.
CPD has also provided an online exchange zone for shoppers who decided to browse from home but must make an in-person exchange. Police emphasize to make such exchanges are always done in a public place.