By Chris Reagle
Posted Oct. 5, 2015 at 10:00 AM
ROCHESTER – People selling or buying items online privately or through online yard sales will have less to be worried about when it comes time for money and merchandise to exchange because Rochester Police have established a “safety zone” for those transactions.
Rochester Police Chief Paul Magee and Rochester Police Sgt. Robert Small came before Rochester Selectmen, at the board’s Sept. 28 meeting, to explain what they believe will lessen the chances of someone being robbed or physically attacked by a stranger responding to an online advertisement to buy or sell something. Magee has designated the police department parking lot and the lobby of the police station “safety zones” where those sort of transactions to take place.
Sgt. Small said the decision was made in response to a rising number of violent crimes, including robberies, rapes and murders, across the country as a result of stranger-to-stranger encounters due to anonymous purchase or sale transactions made online.
Calling online sales to strangers a “risky proposition,” Small noted that with the establishment of a safety zone, such as a police station, which is manned and lit and video surveillance 24-hour per day, seven days a week makes it far less dangerous for the exchange of money and merchandise to people you do not know.
“It just offers people a level security when there is an exchange of money or items,” Small said.
Rochester Selectman Naida Parker praised Magee and Small for coming up with the idea, and said provides a level of security that didn’t exist before.
“It will discourage anybody with ill intent,” she said.
“Yes, your home is the worst possible place for you to meet (strangers),” Small emphasized.
For more information, call Rochester Police Station at 508-763-5112.
Follow Chris Reagle on Twitter @creaglesentinel.
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