FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The Springfield Police Department has designated a parking spot at its headquarters, 321 E. Chestnut Expressway, to create a secure location for Springfield residents to complete transactions initiated in an online forum such as Facebook or Craigslist.
In recent years, the SPD has received reports of the buying/selling of stolen property and even reports of the planned transactions turning into robberies.
“More often now, people are looking to internet sites and social media to buy, sell or trade goods,” said Police Chief Paul Williams. “People need to use common sense and watch out for red flags when making these transactions with strangers.”
The SPD cannot become involved in the transactions unless there is a crime to be reported; in most instances, transactions take place without any incident.
However, the department wants to offer peace of mind to citizens engaging in this online activity. “While we can’t guarantee that offering this area will eliminate criminal activity that may take place during transactions, we feel it is a much safer alternative than meeting at a random spot or at one’s residence,” said Williams.
The parking lot of Police Headquarters can be used by the public anytime, and the lobby is open to the public from 7 a.m.-11 p.m. seven days a week. Citizens are encouraged to use the area closest to the building entrance during daytime hours, if possible.
If citizens cannot meet at Police Headquarters, they are encouraged to meet in daylight in a public place. They should also try to bring a friend or family member along, or let someone know what they are doing, and when and where they will be when making the transaction.
If you become the victim of a crime, call 911 or the Springfield Police Department at 417-864-1810.
Safe Exchange Zone sign
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Media Contact: Lisa Cox, Public Affairs Officer
Release authorized by: Chief Paul Williams