Safe Zones For Exchanging Internet Purchases Are Popping Up Around the U.S. - Atlas Obscura
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Safe Zones For Exchanging Internet Purchases Are Popping Up Around the U.S.

Creeped out by buying from a stranger on the Internet? You now have a safe space to trade.

Go ahead and buy things from strangers without worry at spots like this South Carolina safe zone. (Photo: North Charleston/CC BY-SA 2.0)

Finally found that perfect used bike on Craigslist, but a little skeeved out by meeting the seller IRL? Well thanks to internet purchase safe zones, you’ve got nothing to fear. These safely surveilled areas for exchange are popping up in towns across America, the latest of which is in Denton, North Carolina.

According to TheDispatch.com, the new Denton safe zone was inspired by a similar safe space in the North Carolina town of Apex, which set aside a parking spot outside its police station as a point of exchange. These safe spaces are generally established in highly visible spots that are monitored by cameras so that no funny business can go unrecorded. In the case of the Denton safe area, it is located across the street from a farmer’s market pavilion, and marked off by a sign post.

One of the biggest issues with these safe spaces seems to be that people don’t know they are there. A safe internet exchange zone in Marlborough, Massachusetts was established in early 2016, but according to police officials, it has only been used a couple of times. (In case you are wondering if there is such a safe space near you, there is a growing database site, Safe Trade Stations, that can help you find out.)

As unregulated internet commerce and trade continues to grow, the likelihood of getting hoodwinked or worse when meeting an unknown seller, grows as well. So it’s little surprise that these Internet exchange spaces are quickly becoming a standard location in towns across America. The next step is for people to actually use them.