South Brunswick Police Chief Raymond Hayducka announced Monday that the department has established a “Safe Exchange Zone” for residents selling or buying items online. “The growth of internet sales from sites like Craigslist and eBay has made it easier for residents to buy or sell items, but it has also opened a new door for criminals. In the past two years we have had 25 reports where residents were defrauded or had suspicious activity as a result of online sales. Many times unsuspecting residents invite a buyer or seller to their home with no idea of who they are meeting. We want to stop the tense moments when strangers must meet to complete the deal by creating a Safe Exchange Zone outside of police headquarters,” said Chief Hayducka.
3 recent cases highlight some of the challenges of Craigslist, eBay, and internet sales;
In December of 2015 a local residents purchased a dirt bike online and met the seller at his house. The resident purchased the dirt bike only to later learn it was stolen from Paterson.
In September of 2015 a local resident met a man selling a cell phone in a parking lot near the NJ Turnpike. The purchased cell phone later turned out to have been reported stolen in another town.
In February of 2015 a man realized his cell phone had been stolen and saw it for sale on Craigslist. He met the seller at a Route 1 business, where the seller was arrested by police.
The South Brunswick Police Department has created two clearly marked spots in the well-lit parking lot of the police station. People can meet and sell their goods with less fear of a quick rip-off. The parking spots are directly out of the police department lobby doors. The spots are marked with a sign which reads “Reserved Parking – Safe Exchange Zone – 15 Min Parking Limit – 24 Hour Monitoring”. Officers will not be involved or actively monitor the transaction.
“We believe that by providing residents with a safe location it will deter criminal activity around these sales,” said Chief Hayducka.
Raymond J. Hayducka Chief
540 Ridge Road
Monmouth Junction ,NJ 08852