NEW YORK - The buying and selling of goods online between complete strangers can come with risks if you're not careful.
To that end, the NYPD has just launched "E-commerce Exchange Zone" safe spaces where these transactions can be done.
Mark Stewart, Deputy Commissioner of the NYPD Community Affairs Bureau says "You know, you want to sell your item, you want to pick something, you want to buy it. You're like, oh, let me run out there and get it. But you know what? You got to think safety first."
Police precincts across the city have become designated locations for the hand-off of items purchased from web retailers like Facebook Marketplace, Nextdoor, and Craigslist. Each location is secure, well-lit, and well-monitored by New York's finest.
Capt. Spiro Papavlasopoulos, Commanding Officer of the NYPD Crime Prevention Division, explains that no one is immune to being a potential victim.
"Everything is monitored and recorded for and for transactions across the city. This could happen to anyone. It could happen to visitors. It could happen to even law enforcement. However, we are trying to provide a safe location for everyone that's even visiting the city that wants to conduct these transactions," Capt. Papavlasopoulos said.
A total of 98 exchange zones will be spread out across the 5 boroughs. They include police precincts in public housing and multiple transit locations as well.
"You do not have to make an appointment with the precinct," Deputy Commissioner Stewart said. This is 24 hours, seven days a week."
The NYPD launched the initiative to get the word out ahead of Black Friday and the unofficial start of the holiday shopping season.
"There's some key indicators that should be people that should be aware of if a person does not want to meet at a precinct. Then that should be an indicator on why," Capt. Papavlasopoulos said.
The E-commerce Exchange Zones are currently in Manhattan and the Bronx. They will be in place citywide by mid-December.