The “Project Safe Trade” zones were set up in the parking lots of the Embrun and Rockland detachment buildings early in the new year. Intended to prevent online fraud or theft, the zones were designed to give residents a comfortable, public space to complete online transactions.
Apart from providing the space, police would have little involvement in the transactions. Meetings between buyers and sellers could be arranged privately, and officers would not monitor or mediate the transactions. In a statement, the OPP said the zones were designed to provide an outlet for people uncomfortable with visiting a strangers’ home to buy or sell something online, and vice versa.
“Creating a ‘community safe zone’ is about moving online transactions away from secluded parking lots, personal residences or other areas and bringing them to a public place,” the statement said. “These Safe Trade parking spots are available at all times with no appointment necessary. The OPP does not monitor or mediate the use of these premises for these purposes.”
Even if residents opted not to use the zones for their meetings, police recommended that they meet in a busy public place during daylight hours, bring a trusted friend or family member as a witness, and keep all emails, text messages or voicemails with the buyer or seller. The project was also set up at the new Hawkesbury detachment building late last year.