A lot of police departments nationwide allow the use of their lobbies for such transactions. The Fort Worth Police Department in Texas, for example, offers the use of its facilities in different stations during business hours. Just don’t bring any weapons, it says.
You can also use designated parking lots
In addition to lobbies, some police stations allow residents to use their parking lots as “internet purchase exchange” locations. The Iowa city of Ankeny is one of them.
The city does not allow sellers and buyers to store such items at the police department or in the parking lot. But it allows the transaction of bigger items such as a vehicle or lawn mower at their parking lot.
“Additionally, the area can be used as a safe and neutral site for parents to meet for child custody exchanges,” the city says.
In Georgia, the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office also has such parking lots and has posted signs with a phone number to call if you want a deputy to stop by. While its deputies don’t supervise the transactions, it said, the designated parking spaces are under video surveillance.
Officers can check to see if items are stolen
The efforts are not just limited to keeping buyers and sellers safe.
The Woodstock Police Department also can check the serial numbers of the items on the Georgia and national databases to ensure they are not stolen.
Not all police departments check serial numbers to see if items being sold are stolen. The Fort Worth Police Department, for example, makes it clear that its officers do not.
Some online marketplaces have meetup spaces
Companies such as online marketplace OfferUp have partnered with police stations to create a safe spot to conduct transactions. Sellers or buyers can find the closest location by putting their addresses on its website or app.
Officers provide tips and alternative meeting spots
During the transactions, officers can also provide additional tips.
And if meeting at a police station is not your thing, any other public spot will do just fine.
“Always meet in a public place such as a restaurant or shopping center or anywhere where there is a high volume of pedestrian or vehicle traffic. Never meet in out-of-the-way locations,” the Fort Worth Police Department says.