Temple Police Offering Safe Exchange Zone for Online Transactions
The Temple Police Department is providing a safe place for citizens conducting online business to meet. The announcement comes almost a week after a man was gunned down in Killeen during a suspected Craigslist deal gone wrong.
The lobby of the police headquarters at 209 E. Avenue A is being designated a "Safe Exchange Zone" where online buyers and sellers who are meeting a party they don't know can feel secure. In the past, police have encouraged individuals to utilize the department lobby for civil exchanges, such as child custody visitation, to lessen the potential for problems between the parties. They are now expanding that practice in hopes of preventing tragedy.
“The recent incident in Killeen, in which a person was apparently lured into a dangerous situation and was seriously injured, highlights the concerns many have about meeting strangers in unfamiliar places to complete these types of transactions," Chief Gary Smith said Wednesday. "While the e-marketplace has made personal transactions quick and easy in most cases, everyone must be alert to the fact that there are individuals that use these forums to victimize others.”
The police department's lobby is staffed 24 hours a day and is both video and audio monitored. For larger items, officials are encouraging citizens to use the parking area directly in front of the department on Avenue A, which is also continuously video monitored. Signs identifying the outdoor safe zone are expected to be posted soon.