Macomb police offer safe place for internet sale exchanges

MACOMB, Illinois (NEWS3) — It’s more common for internet trades to be made in person, but it puts people’s safety at risk.

The Macomb Police Department has created a location they call a safe spot to meetup.

“Essentially it’s a place where people can go to do internet purchases and meetup with people to exchange items or exchange children if there’s a child custody agreement,” Lieutenant Jeff Hamer said.

Two parking spaces are right next to the police department, watched under surveillance video for the community to use to make exchanges.

Lieutenant Hamer said using this location can save a lot of situations from going wrong.

“I think this puts them on equal footing and neutral ground where no one really has the advantage,” Lieutenant Hamer said.

Officials say they have received positive feedback from the community and other departments should look into it.

“I think that’s very awesome, I think that’s a safe way to enact transactions,” Harley Spero said.

“You think about how dangerous it can be, especially meeting up with a complete strangely for sometimes tens or hundreds of dollars,” Lawrence Walls said.

A trade in Kershaw County, South Carolina turned dangerous in January when police say Tranham Martise Woodward, Jr., 20, went to a man’s house to buy a rifle sold online.

Woodward pulled a gun on the seller and stole his rifle and cellphone. Woodward was later arrested for armed robbery.

The Kershaw County Sheriff’s Office said they offered a safe location for meetups, but it was not used in this case.

The exchange spaces are available to use at any time at the Macomb Police Department.

Lieutenant Hamer said if someone is not willing to meet you at a safe spot, like the police department, that should be a red flag of concern.

8 out of 10 Americans shop online, according to a 2016 Pew Research study.

 

The Better Business Bureau has several tips when buying from someone online:

Never meet a stranger alone – take someone with you
• Make exchanges in public
• Let someone know the time of a meeting
• Always use the online payment system to purchase, don’t pay in person