Police chiefs talk about safe zones for internet purchase exchanges

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CHAMPAIGN COUNTY, Ill. (WCIA) — The age of online sales and social media shopping has police concerned about safety.

In light of a recent robbery in Champaign, police reminded people to how sell safely. Monday, someone tried to sell an item through a Facebook marketplace exchange and arranged a meeting with a buyer.

That person met with the potential buyer just off U of I campus in Champaign. Then, the potential buyer robbed them at knifepoint and got away in a car.

That is why at Wednesday’s Champaign Community Coalition meeting, police chiefs stood up to talk about to prevent that from happening to you. Champaign, Urbana and the U of I’s police stations are all “internet exchange purchase locations.” In other words, they are “safe zones.” That means you can go there to meet up with a buyer to make sure things go off without a hitch.

However, police officers have other tips you can use to protect yourself. “You obviously don’t know who you’re selling this stuff to, so don’t have them come to your house,” said Matt Myrick, Interim Chief of Police for UIPD Don’t let them know where you live, or your personal residence is. Meet them at a public place. If you don’t want to come to the police departments, that’s fine. But at least meet them at some kind of public place, where there’s lots of people around that you can use to get help if you need it.” Also at Wednesday’s meeting, Urbana Police Chief Bryant Seraphin announced that the two full-time Urbana SRO’s have completed their training. This is their first full week stationed at Urbana’s middle and high schools.

The coalition meetings happen once a month on Wednesdays at 3:30 p.m. They are open to the public, so if you have concerns or comments about what is happening in your area, city leaders encourage you to come.

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