PUBLIC SAFETY FACILITY — The Santa Monica Police Department advised people via their Facebook page to be on the lookout for sketchy Craigslist transactions in order to prevent robbery.

Here are their tips:

• Insist on a public meeting place like a cafe, or the parking lot of a police station. If someone is too scared to meet you in the parking lot of the police station then something is probably wrong.

• Do not meet in a secluded place, or invite strangers to your home.

• Be especially careful when buying/selling high value items; many thieves are placing ads for cars that aren’t theirs.

• Tell a friend or family member where you’re going, and keep them constantly updated.

• Take your cell phone along if you have one, and know exactly where you are located so that you can quickly report it to police, i.e. specific address/street.

• Consider having a friend accompany you, or have a friend act as a layoff person to watch the transaction secretly and who can remain calm and call the police if needed. If your friend is in a vehicle, they might be able to give a good description of the thief and the direction they are seen getting away with your property or money.

• When talking to the seller, tell them you are not bringing money with you.

• Do not bring money when first meeting the seller.

• Inspect the item for sale, ensure the seller is the true owner, and check to see if anything is suspicious. If all seems well, then go get the money from a different location.

• Do not keep valuables on you like an expensive purse, electronics, or jewelry.

• Trust your instincts, and be prepared.

editor@smdp.com