Clovis PD sets up "Safe Zone" for safe online transactions

CLOVIS, Calif. (KFSN) -- The Clovis Police Department now has a designated safe zone for people who want to buy or sell something on websites like Craigslist but are worried about their safety.

Whether you're purchasing cars on Craigslist or puppies on eBay classifieds the in-person part of the transaction can be nerve-wracking, even dangerous. That's why Steve McGary took some safety precautions when he sold his silver Camry. "You know, I don't know these people, so in case something does go awry at least they'll be less likely if there're a lot of other people around in a public spot."

Now one option is to meet at the Clovis Police Department's "Exchange Zone" in the parking lot in front of the department which is under 24-hour video surveillance. "The concept behind it is, it's a "safer" place to exchange your goods, so that you're not doing it in a poorly lit parking lot in front of Target with someone you've never met before," explained Sgt. Jim Munro, Clovis Police Department.

The signs will go up next week.

While officers won't physically be present at the transactions, the department hopes the location and surveillance is a deterrent against fraud and theft.

In October, a Fresno man had arranged to sell his phone for $950 on Craigslist. But his dash cam video showed the suspect slamming the victim against the car and taking the phone by force. law enforcement said these types of transaction crimes are happening more often. Which has led to safe zones at police departments all over the country. Clovis Police Department will be among the first in the Valley.

Whether you're buying or selling, make sure to follow some basic safety tips. Number one, trust your instincts and try not to go alone. Number two make sure the transaction happens in a public place like a parking, and preferably in broad daylight.
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