NEW LONDON, Conn. (WTNH) — The lobby of the New London Police Department may be where some people buy their next TV or gently-used jacket.
Police aren’t going into the retail business, but rather, they are continuing their effort to improve safety for citizens. The department has established its lobby as a Safe Exchange Zone.
“We’ve actually received a handful of complaints from people who’ve been scammed by others through online transactions,” said New London Police Chief Peter Reichard.
“I think it’s a good idea to have that just to cover everybody and protect them,” said Jackie Kiefer of Mystic.
“The last thing I bought on Craigslist was a rebounder,” said Joey Adriani of Niantic. “Things where you bounce up and down on.”
Many other departments police encourage people like Adriani to use their parking lot as a safe place to make a website-based transaction.
Related Content: How to Protect Yourself from Cyber Criminals This Holiday Season
The New London Police Department lobby and parking lot are under 24-hour video surveillance and they are available to anyone 24-hours a day, 7-days a week, and no appointments are necessary. No weapons are allowed.
“I brought him with me because I went to the person’s house,” said Adriani who says Joe Pasquantino waited in the car for him.
Now, those who find bargains on Craigslist, Facebook, and other online sites can make their exchange in this lobby or the police department’s parking lot.
“If there’s any problems, they can probably take care of it right there,” said Pasquantino.
Police say while the lobby is a safe place to exchange items, it is important to note that all sales are civil matters. Police don’t get involved in the transaction and residents don’t have to tell police why they’re there.
“Just come into the lobby, take care of your business, and go on your way,” said Chief Reichard.
Pasquantino has never bought anything on Craiglist.
“Just never felt comfortable having people come to my house to do the exchange,” said Pasquantino.
Jackie Keifer has sold one big item on line.
“I was a little nervous when we… we put our car online and people came to the house.”
Both now no longer have to worry about stranger danger at their house or the other person’s.
“You might go in and never come out,” said Adriani.
Police warn if someone is unwilling to meet at the police department to complete a transaction, it is probably not a legitimate transaction. They say “Always be safe!”