Long Island authorities designate safe zones for social media transactions

Making purchases on social media could net you a deal, but it can also be dangerous, as seen when an off-duty NYPD officer was shot while trying to buy a car on Facebook Marketplace.

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Now, law enforcement in Suffolk County has created designated areas to protect people making purchases through Facebook or other social media sites.

Suffolk County Sheriff Errol Toulon Jr. came up with the idea for so-called "Safe Transaction Zones" after an increase in online marketplace shopping.

According to officials on Long Island, there have been increases in robberies and assaults related to buyers picking up goods.

"We have two locations in our Yaphank facility and Riverhead facility," he said. "Anyone that really wants to make a transaction, they don’t know who they’re dealing with and so when that exchange should occur we want to make sure they could come to a safe place."

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Law enforcement officials in the booth near the posted signs watch for suspicious activity and surveillance cameras are recording 24/7 if footage is ever needed.

"If we were to hear it see something or someone was to scream or a loud confrontation, we’d be able to respond appropriately," Sheriff Toulon said. "[We] really want to stop individuals from feeling unsafe when they make these transactions."

If you can't make it to one of the Safe Transaction Zones, officials suggest meeting somewhere like a shopping center where it’s well-lit and people are around in case something goes wrong.

"If their gut instinct say something’s wrong just get in the car and leave," Toulon said.

Over in Nassau County, public parking lots at police precincts can also be used for buying and selling goods.