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Police Stations Become 'Safe Havens' For Online Marketplace Transactions

By Edward Cardenas

STERLING HEIGHTS (CBS Detroit) - Communities around Metro Detroit are establishing "Safe Havens" for buyers and sellers using online marketplaces such as Craiglist.

Grosse Pointe Woods and Sterling Heights are the latest Metro Detroit communities to offer the parking lot and lobbies of their police stations for transactions.

Unlike meeting at a home, or parking lot, police stations are staffed around the clock and are under a camera surveillance 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

"We've had a significant number of cases where people have been frauded," said Sterling Heights Police Lt. Dave Smith, who described the police station as safe location to conduct business. "We are there to prevent crime and keep people safe."

By creating these "Safe Havens,"communities are offering a location for those involved in the transaction to safely buy and sell items on these marketplaces.

These communities join others such as Novi and Troy who offer the service. While the officers and dispatchers at these departments may monitor the surveillance cameras, police personnel are not there to act as official witnesses in the transactions, offer legal advice or to settle disputes.

Sterling Heights police also offer the following tips for those looking to conduct sales on Craigslist and other online sites:

  • Conduct transactions with local buyers/sellers,
  • Do not go to a transaction alone,
  • Make sure someone is aware of the transaction details,
  • Insist on meeting in a public place or "Safe Zone,"
  • Do not go into someone else's house, and do not allow them into yours,
  • Complete the transaction during daylight hours,
  • Only use cash or money orders to complete your transaction,
  • Trust your instincts, if it sounds like a scam it probably is.
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