From Craig's List to OfferUp to Facebook Marketplace, people love buying and selling their stuff online. But where and how to safely exchange goods and money with strangers from the internet is always a question. Many people don't feel comfortable giving out their home address or going to someone else's house. It's become commonplace to meet in a public place, but even that isn't always as safe as it sounds.
After an armed robbery took place in a retail parking lot during and online sale exchange in Kennewick, Washington, the police department announced their solution to making such transactions safer. They have designated spots in their own parking lot, complete with security cameras, for people in the community to meet up for online purchases.
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"Over the weekend Kennewick police officers responded to an armed robbery that occurred in a retail parking lot after the victim had placed an item for sale on a buy/sell internet site," the department shared on Facebook. "One juvenile male is in custody and investigators are working to identify a second suspect."
"While these internet sites provide a great opportunity to buy or sell used items we would like to remind people that you do not generally know the people on the other end of the transaction and therefore you may not know their true intentions. For those reasons we have designated parking spots in front of the Kennewick Police Department for people to meet up to complete these transaction more safely. These parking spaces are in public view and recorded by our security cameras."
Brilliant. How many thieves or psychos are going to try to pull something right in front of the police station? Likely not very many.
The sign at the parking space was donated by the popular mobile marketplace, OfferUp. The company started it's Community Meetup Spot program in 2017, and thousands of these spaces are offered throughout the U.S.
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People seem to be loving the idea of law enforcement agencies providing such spaces in their parking lots. The Kennewick police department's Facebook post is filled with comments from people either asking their police departments to do the same or praising their own towns for providing a similar service. After all, public safety is a priority of police departments everywhere, and what safer place could there be than their own property?
Well done, Kennewick. (If other police departments want to follow suit, OfferUp provides free Community Meetup signs and installation kits here. And community members can find designated Meetup spaces through the OfferUp app or on the Safe Trade Spots website.)