The Clinton Police Department has created a so-called “Safe Exchange Zone” in front of the police station at 125 West Broad Street to provide a safe location for “online buying and selling exchanges and other private party transactions,” a category that could also include our very own Trading Time.
Chief Vaughn Becker says the idea was not his, but rather, a program he first saw at the Lebanon Police Department. With online buying and selling becoming more common, and with members of his own family involved, the chief says he saw a need for a program like this. While there have not been any recent local incidents of online or otherwise private transactions ending with criminal activity, it has happened in the past and there are infrequent reports of robberies and other incidents around the country.
The Safe Exchange Zone is in a well-lit area that is under 24-hour video surveillance. Although not necessarily monitored in real-time, and police officers not necessarily present during transactions, the aim of the program is to provide a safe place to complete your person-to-person transactions, no matter how they are set up.
Becker also says that if someone balks at the idea of completing a transaction in front of the police station, then it “probably not going to be a good deal anyway.”
Signs marking the Safe Exchange Zone were installed in front of the police station on Tuesday and Chief Becker says that since the department announced it on Facebook, the response from the public has been overwhelmingly positive.
Here’s a few tips for using CPD’s Safe Exchange Zone, and for completing an online purchase or sale:
- Only conduct transactions with local buyers/sellers.
- Do not go to a transaction alone.
- Make sure a friend or family member is aware of the details.
- Complete the transaction during daylight hours, when possible.
- Be extra cautious in buying/selling valuable items.
- Only use cash or money orders.
- Trust your instincts; if it sounds like a scam it probably is a scam.