By Dawn Pearson
The Zionsville Police Department has joined the Whitestown Police Department in offering a site on town property to conduct Craigslist deals.
In Zionsville, the police department lobby is available for Craigslist buyers and sellers – who often do not know each other – to conduct a transaction. The area is constantly under video surveillance.
“People are free to come in and use the police lobby to meet in a safe location,” said ZPD Chief Robert Knox, who shared the plan to the Zionsville Metropolitan Board of Police Commissioners and members of the Town Council.
The police department lobby is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, with the exception of holidays. When the lobby is closed, people may meet in the parking lot, which is also under video surveillance at all times.
The Whitestown Town Council in recently approved Town Hall as a public meeting place for Craigslist transactions. Both towns cite safety as the top reason in making a public space available for these types of transactions.
“It seems to be a useful community service that we are able to provide our residents,” said Dennis Anderson, Whitestown chief of police. “This is safer than meeting someone in an unfamiliar or remote location.”
The Whitestown Town Hall lobby is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. On holidays and after hours, people may conduct transactions in the parking lot. Both areas are monitored by video cameras at all times.
People conducting a Craigslist deal at the Zionsville Police Department or Whitestown Town Hall are encouraged to notify the front desk about the transaction.
Although rare, criminals have used Craigslist to find and target unsuspecting victims. Craigslist transactions have been linked to assaults and even murder.
No matter when or where a Craigslist meeting takes place, Knox encourages all parties involved to use common sense.
“Their own security starts with them,” he said. “Don’t go to someone’s house you don’t know, and don’t invite them to yours.”
Craigslist offers additional steps to take to ensure a safe transaction at www.craigslist.org/about/safety.