By Michelle Merlin of The Morning Call
Anyone hoping to carry out a Craiglist or other online transaction with a stranger can now meet outside the Allentown police station on Hamilton and 10th streets.
Allentown officials unveiled the safe exchange site Thursday morning. Two 15-minute parking spaces have been designated for transactions and offer what authorities said is a safer option than meeting in a vacant parking lot or a public park after dark.
"It gives folks an extra layer of security," said Mayor Ed Pawlowski. "A place they can have a safe place to do their sales and do their transactions without being worried that wherever they're doing that transaction something may occur."
There are cameras all around the street and police staff the station 24/7, offering a deterrent for potential criminals.
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SHARON K. MERKEL / SPECIAL TO THE MORNING CALL
Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski and police Chief Keith Morris unveiled the city's first Safe Sale Zone for people who buy items off online sellers like Craigslist at a news conference on Wednesday at the Allentown Police Patrol Station in Allentown.
Forks Township police to set up a safe transaction area in its parking lot at the township municipal building at 1606 Sullivan Trail for people exchanging goods through online classifieds sites. The section of parking lot was chosen because it's well-lit and under surveillance from cameras at both the municipal building and police station. During business hours, the location is easily visible to township employees and police.
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The Pittsburg Police Department has taken the safe-ground concept out the front door, opening last week what it calls an "exchange zone" in front of the City Hall and police station.
Two specially-marked parking spaces, each with an "exchange zone" sign saying the area "has been designated for conducting private property transactions," are well-lighted and monitored around the clock by surveillance cameras to deter bad-guy buyers and sellers.
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York Area Regional Police this week put up an "exchange zone" parking sign, with two spots designated for those buying or selling items. The signs say the area is under 24-hour surveillance.
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More than 100 murders have been linked to Craigslist along with rapes, robberies and assaults, said Peter Zollman, a founding principal of the AIM Group, a consulting service for interactive media and classified advertising that tracks crimes linked to Craigslist and advocates for more security.
The Pittsburg Police Department has taken the safe-ground concept out the front door, opening last week what it calls an "exchange zone" in front of the City Hall and police station. Read the full story here.
Pittsburgh area's South Fayette and Peter's Township establish ‘Internet Purchase Exchange’ locations
The area in front of both police stations are monitored by 24-hour surveillance. Read more here.
The Westtown-East Goshen Regional Police Department in Chester County, Pennsylvania has designated two parking spaces in front of their building as "SafeTrade" locations. These marked spaces are subject to 24-hour video recording. The lobby of the police department, which is also under 24-hour video recording, is also available to persons wishing to conduct online transactions during weekdays only during the hours of 9:00 am and 3:00 pm.
Abington Township Police Department (northern Philadelphia) created a ”Safe Transfer Zone" in the police department lobby, which is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
The front parking lot of Lansdale police headquarters, off Vine Street, is open to borough residents who want to conduct transactions from Craigslist or any other online market.