While Craigslist can be useful when it comes to offloading old furniture or selling concert tickets, it can also be the breeding ground for dangerous meet-ups between strangers. Law enforcement has long warned that posts can be a ploy for robbery or other deadly crimes. Which is why a police department outside of Philadelphia is now allowing online users to complete their cash transactions just outside the department with officers conveniently nearby.
Cops in Conshohocken, Penn., have opened up their parking lot as a free place for Craigslist users to meet to exchange cash for goods, the Associated Press reports. Conshohocken Officer Steve Vallone first came up with the idea after he learned his wife was planning to meet someone at their home to complete an online purchase.
“I figured there’s got to be a better place for people who don’t know each other to complete these transactions,” Vallone says. “Why not allow people to complete their online transactions from here? It seems like the perfect match.”
Residents can use the well-lit lot 24 hours a day or the lobby, which is available from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. In addition to lights, the parking lot is also equipped with four surveillance cameras and an emergency call button to contact the station inside.
While the police said the initiative was not in respond to any crimes, NBC Philadelphia reports the move comes a few weeks after an alleged rapist was charged with killing a man he met on Craigslist.
Last May in Florida, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office offered up its four parking lots as a safe zone for people to answer classifieds or complete cash transactions for online purchases.
With more people using online marketplaces, let’s hope more communities catch on to creating safe zones.