Crime - Sacto 911

Sacramento Police Department offers safer place to complete online sales

Susan Locke, left, hands her money to Michele Velleman as she buys a table in the “online safe zone” outside the police station in Georgetown, Mass., on July 13, 2015. Around the nation, in police department parking lots festooned with surveillance cameras, authorities are setting up an “online safe zones” where people meeting via Craigslist or buying goods via eBay can meet up without fear of assault or abduction.
Susan Locke, left, hands her money to Michele Velleman as she buys a table in the “online safe zone” outside the police station in Georgetown, Mass., on July 13, 2015. Around the nation, in police department parking lots festooned with surveillance cameras, authorities are setting up an “online safe zones” where people meeting via Craigslist or buying goods via eBay can meet up without fear of assault or abduction. AP

For many people, the only downside to finding a great buy on Craigslist is the potential danger that comes from having to meet a total stranger while carrying a pocketful of cash.

The Sacramento Police Department wants to make such transactions safer by creating an “online exchange zone” in the parking lot of its Franklin Boulevard headquarters.

We’ve had some crimes where people have been robbed meeting up with people,” Heinlein said. “This is a proactive step to try to minimize these try of incidents.

Bryce Heinlein, spokesman, Sacramento Police Department

“These transactions are always dangerous. We’re just trying to make them a little safer,” said Bryce Heinlein, a spokesman for the department.

“We’ve had some crimes where people have been robbed meeting up with people,” Heinlein said.

The prospective buyers and sellers are invited to meet in the parking lot of the Joseph E. Rooney Police Department, 5303 Franklin Blvd., to complete transactions. Making an exchange at the station – even though officers will not oversee the transaction – is considered safer than meeting somewhere not under surveillance.

After Sacramento attorney Amreet Sandhu agreed to buy a hammer drill from someone on Craigslist, they decided to meet at a Thai place during her lunch hour. To ease her mind, she took a strong co-worker as a bodyguard, she said.

“Everything worked out, but I was glad to be ready in case things did not go so smoothly,” Sandhu said.

For those who don’t want to meet at the police station, Heinlein suggested meeting in a public area, like a coffee shop, when other people are present.

Ed Fletcher: 916-321-1269, @NewsFletch

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