PPD now an official safe trade zone, meetup spot

Published 12:36 pm Thursday, October 4, 2018

PELHAM – The Pelham Police Department is now an official community meetup spot/safe trade zone for buyers and sellers from online and mobile marketplaces.

Buyers and sellers can now meet in-person at two designated parking spots at the police department to complete their transaction. The space can also be used to hand-off children in co-parenting situations.

A camera mounted on the PPD building provides 24-hour surveillance of the parking spaces, said PPD Chief Larry Palmer.

Those looking to utilize the Community Meetup Spot/Trade Zone should pull into the parking lot at police headquarters and look for the street light with the green sign. Directly under that light are two designated parking spaces, which are striped green. The area can be used any time of the day or night.

“We are really proud to announce this new service for Pelham and area residents,” Palmer said. “Meeting at the police station and knowing that the meeting spot is under surveillance will hopefully help deter criminal intent and activity.

“This is just a part of the culture we’re dealing with now,” Palmer added. “Our goal is to make sure Internet exchanges go smoothly because we know people can be apprehensive when meeting someone from the internet.”

While technology is a great tool, people should still use caution when setting up these in-person meetings. Palmer said residents should not invite anyone to their home or go to someone else’s. Even meeting in well-lit, busy parking lots or areas can be risky. Just this week, Palmer said a man purchasing a vehicle was ripped off.

“There was a slight of hand and the person selling the vehicle drove off with the vehicle and the man’s money,” Palmer said. “And now this man is out of thousands of dollars. That’s the type of thing that is happening more often, and this happened in a well-lit, busy parking lot.

“Use your best judgment, and if something seems off, it’s probably best you go with your gut and call off the meeting,” Palmer advised.

Depending on demand, Palmer said additional parking spaces might be added. OfferUp, an online marketplace, provided the signs to the Pelham Police Department, free of charge.