The Sacramento Police Department wants to provide an alternative space to make purchases from online classifieds. A sign and 24-hour surveillance make the parking lot at the police station in South Sacramento off Franklin Boulevard an “Online Exchange Zone.”
“We have a surveillance camera that’s set up and it’s going to be well lit," says Officer Traci Trapani. "It will hopefully discourage any criminal activity and it will allow the community to have a safe location for the exchange of merchandise.”
There are plans to roll out more zones across the city. Trapani says even if you aren’t near the exchange zone it’s always better to meet a seller or buyer in a well lit parking lot instead of their home.
Trapani says there hasn't necessarily been an uptick in online-purchase scams or crimes.
“We are just being proactive and setting up a safe location for people to come and make those exchanges.”
She says buyers and sellers should still be cautious even if they’re meeting in a safe, well-lit location.
“If the exchange or if the forefront of the communication doesn’t feel right it probably isn’t, so you have to trust your gut instincts on a lot of these online transactions and not become a victim.”
Trapani recommends always bringing a friend along and never giving out personal information when buying or selling something online.