Police create safe trading zone for online shoppers

Just in time for online Christmas shopping, the Wilton Police Department has created a safe zone for buyers and sellers to meet and exchange their goods for money.
The e-commerce safe zone, intended for users of websites like craigslist, is in the parking lot in front of police headquarters.
The area is designated by a sign that indicates the location is under video surveillance. Although the police will not be involved in any of these private transactions, the safe zone is intended to provide individuals with a known, well-lit, and secure location at which to conduct their private business.
The area is not to be used for the exchange of illegal or dangerous items such as weapons, police said.
“It is needed due to incidents across the nation, especially considering the increasing online activity,” said Capt. John Lynch. The Wilton Police Department has also joined SafeTrade — a national safety initiative for completing online transactions safely when meeting in person. Additional information is available at safetradestations. com.
“Because you never know who you are dealing with in regard to online purchases, the buyer and seller can meet at a safe location,” Lynch said.
The idea came from other departments across the nation that have such zones and was inspired by the department’s continued commitment to Wilton citizens’ safety, Lynch said.
“Basically, it will help those in our community feel more secure and/or safer when involved with online purchases such as those we see on craigslist and Wilton [CT] Tag Sale etc.,” Lynch said.
It sounds like a good idea, said Debra Hanson, executive director of the Wilton Chamber of Commerce.
“Feeling safe would be a problem without it,” Hanson said. “I experienced it myself, trying to sell a piece of furniture.”
She said someone offered her more than the asking price, and wanted to be refunded for the difference with a check. “The bank told me I was getting scammed so I canceled the whole operation,” she said.
A safe place to meet is a good option if you don’t want unidentified people showing up at your home or apartment, and making yourself open to any ill will or crime, she said.
“I totally support our police department. They help us with everything,” Hanson said.