Charlotte NC March 13 2018
After a rash of violent armed robberies and murders began to spring up across the country during the exchange of money and merchandise from Internet deals, a new concept called Safe Exchange Zones was created.
The zones, where buyers and sellers of products can meet and safely transact business have been popping up at local markets, gas stations and even at police stations.
Brightly colored signs, surveillance cameras and extra security lighting all installed to give users a bit more security when meeting strangers.
And while in theory and on the surface, it sounds like a great idea and I’m sure that it was born out of one person’s desire to make a difference, we now know that these so called Safe Zones, are not that safe after all.
During the past eighteen months, robberies, assaults, theft and murders of those hoping to buy or sell their wares have continued.
In almost all of the businesses that have offered to participate in these Internet Safety Zones, few if any, have added the physical presence of a security guard or law enforcement officer and no one is really monitoring the surveillance equipment.
In at least a dozen incidents, the cameras weren’t even on or weren’t working.
Last week, in Charlotte NC, a murder took place in front of a Quik-Trip gas station Safe Exchange Zone though police do not believe it involved a retail exchange.
A Georgia teen trying to buy a cellphone was robbed and pistol whipped at a safe zone location and Police agencies in North Texas said Monday they are seeing varying levels of success and setbacks with so-called “safe exchange zones” for transactions from popular buy/sell apps. The assessment comes after the murder on Friday of a teenager in Lancaster who tried to purchase a phone through the “5miles” app.
Some smaller police agencies say that their surveillance cameras are monitored 24 hours a day while other cameras are merely an investigative tool for law enforcement, in the event that a crime does take place at or near the safety zone.
The Advanced Interactive Media Group, LLC., a Florida-based consulting-and-publishing company, found 102 killings related to Craigslist since 2007
Still, the number of “Safe Exchange” areas has increased nationally as online groups have exposed the dangers of meeting strangers for transactions.