Selma PD stresses safety during holiday shopping period

Published 4:30 pm Thursday, November 22, 2018

As the holiday shopping season began overnight, the Selma Police Department (SPD) urges all residents to practice safe shopping practices and utilize safety precautions while traveling.

“Black Friday is traditionally the largest shopping period throughout the year,” said SPD Chief Spencer Collier.  “As local businesses and City government urges Selma residents to shop Local, which is a statewide program urging local residents to help the economy by shopping at locally owned small businesses.  Selma PD will once again utilize its strategic plan to provide a safe holiday shopping period for Selma residents.  As part of this plan, extra Selma police officers will be assigned strictly to the retail shopping areas on Highland Boulevard and the downtown business district’s many local shops.  Additionally, Selma PD Special Operations will be conducting surveillance in these areas.  The Selma Times-Journal recently quoted a member of the Selma City Council noting quite a few robberies last year referring to the holiday shopping period of 2017.

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“The quote by a member of the council gives the impression that robberies during holiday shopping period in 2017 dramatically increased,” said Collier.  “However, that assumption is not only wrong, the numbers actually indicate the exact opposite.  Although one single robbery is unacceptable, robberies during the annual holiday shopping period were down 58 percent in 2017 when compared to the previous administration in 2015.”

Collier still stressed the necessity to shop safely and when possible, utilize a few simple preventive steps:

1. Always try to shop as a group or at least in pairs when possible.

2. Always be aware of your surroundings both inside stores or in the parking lot.

3. Try to park in well-lit areas if shopping at night and always remember where you parked.

4. Never leave valuables or recent purchases visible inside a parked car.

5. Unless it’s the Red Cross or the Salvation Army, never give money to strangers.  Selma PD will be more than happy to find assistance for those truly in need.  However, Selma residents need to be aware that asking for handouts can often lead to a robbery if cash or a wallet is taken out.

6. Never display large sums of cash.

7. If something doesn’t feel right or look right, then trust your instincts.

Collier stressed the importance of traveling in a safe manner this holiday period.

“Busy shopping periods produce heavy traffic, which can often lead to accidents.  Safe driving requires patience, wearing your seatbelt, obeying the speed limit, adhering to traffic signs and signals and most importantly…don’t drink and drive,” said Collier.  “Additionally, Selma PD will also be focusing on non-moving traffic violations that seem to be on the rise in the Selma.  In addition to DUI this year, there will be zero tolerance on driving without a license or driving on a suspended or revoked license, driving without proof of insurance and no tag or an expired tag.  A new statute in Alabama allows police officers to issue a citation at the scene of an accident and Selma PD will adhere to the law.  Additionally, driving on a suspended or revoked license or driving without proof of insurance will result in the vehicle being towed.”

Collier announced that more multi-agency saturation details will be forthcoming in Selma during this holiday period.  These type operations were conducted throughout the summer and late fall and proved to be very successful, according to Collier.