Have you ever gone on Craigslist looking to buy something for a lower price such as games, electronics, cars or maybe even concert tickets and just felt tense the whole time? There are plenty of stories where people have been attacked and robbed at gun point or even some murdered just out looking for jobs.
Luckily though local police around the country have come up with a fairly great idea to try and stop these situations from happening. They are setting up ‘safe exchange zones’ in brightly lit police parking lots or even right in the lobby of the station so that the seller and the buyer feel much safe meeting each other to exchange goods.
The idea seemed to first pop up in Boca Raton, Fla., then more of them popped up throughout central Florida then more and more throughout the country.
In an interview with the washington post Officer Sandra Boonenberg stated that “over the summer of 2014, we had three or four different robberies where the victim had made arrangements to meet someone to see either an iPhone or a computer. They met them in public places — one happened at a gas station — and they still got robbed. We decided we’re going to have to come up with something better, and the chief [Daniel C. Alexander] came up with the idea to use the police department for transactions.”
The police usually tend not to get involved with the transactions but they have surveillance cameras installed as an added backup just in case if anything were to go wrong. But in smaller counties such as the one in Fairview Heights, Ill., an officer might go outside just to make some small talk and reassure them that he is there.
Even though the number of online transactions that have gone perfectly fine are in the millions these small number of transactions have really gained a lot of attention. An online blog named Law Street Media stated that “since the arrest in 2009 of Philip Markoff, aka the “Craigslist Killer”, Law Street identified 58 murderers and 45 murder victims connected to Craigslist postings through last June.”
These ‘safe exchange zones’ are new so there aren’t concrete numbers on how truly effective they are but they do hope that with these designated areas they will be able to make the community feel safer and lower the number of crimes committed during a Craigslist exchange.