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Woodland police establish ‘safe exchange zone’ for online-based sales

Woodland residents seeking a safe place to conduct sales or purchase transactions with strangers can designate the city’s Police Department parking lot on Lincoln Avenue as a meeting site.
Woodland residents seeking a safe place to conduct sales or purchase transactions with strangers can designate the city’s Police Department parking lot on Lincoln Avenue as a meeting site. Associated Press file

Woodland residents seeking a safe place to conduct sales or purchase transactions with strangers can designate the city’s Police Department parking lot as a meeting site.

The Woodland Police Department on Monday became the latest area law enforcement agency to designate a portion of its parking lot as a “safe exchange zone.”

The program is designed to deal with safety concerns related to internet-based purchases from websites such as Craigslist, eBay, Facebook groups, classified ads and other sources, according to a department news release.

“Based on criminal reports where buyers or sellers have experienced violent or negative encounters, our department wants our citizens to have a secure location available … to help ensure and enhance their safety and to minimize the opportunity for an encounter to go wrong,” the news release says.

Two parking spots in the Woodland Police Department’s front public parking lot, on the north side of the building at 1000 Lincoln Ave., have been designated as a safe area for prospective buyers and sellers to meet. It also provides a safe, neutral location for families with visitation rights to make custodial exchanges. The well-lighted area is under video surveillance at all times and is available to the public around the clock.

The Sacramento and West Sacramento police departments also have designated their parking lots as safe exchange zones.

Woodland police advise people planning to meet someone they don’t know to buy or sell an advertised item to be cautious and not to provide personal or financial information. People are urged to make sure that photos they post or send do not inadvertently reveal personal information, location information or other items that might attract online predators.

Cathy Locke: 916-321-5287, @lockecathy

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