The Hartford Police Department is now making its public parking lot available as an option for a location to meet for Craigslist transactions to help make it safer for residents utilizing the website and reduce related crimes.
Police will make the parking lot available 24 hours a day, seven days a week as a "safe zone" for Craigslist transactions in seeing success nationwide and wanting to ensure the safety of Hartford citizens, Deputy Chief Brian Foley said.
"Craigslist transactions that have turned into robberies and/or violent encounters have become a nationwide trend and a problem for police departments across the country," Foley said in a news release. "Often, one of the consenting parties on either side of these transactions is robbed of their money and/or belongings. Certainly, the greater Hartford region has experienced this trend first hand. As we have painfully seen here in Hartford, these types of incidents have had great potential for violence."
The police department's front desk is staffed 24/7, he said.
"Our public parking lots and main lobby are literally 'Public,'" Foley said. "While our lot is not very large, it is a strain we are willing to deal with to ensure these potentially violent encounters do not occur. Our police department is always willing to open our doors for our citizens. We are constantly looking for ways to encourage our community to feel welcome and safe."
"Safe zones" are also a national trend due to a string of Craigslist-related crimes, The Today Show reported.
Manchester police made another arrest on Wednesday and another days before in a laptop robbery that happened at a McDonald's during a Craigslist transaction.
In December in Hartford, a victim of an armed robbery told police that he had a "bad feeling" before men he thought he was selling tires to through Craigslist pulled a gun on him and robbed him.
Last month, West hartford police arrested a local man suspected of robbing another man trying to sell him his iPhone through Craigslist.
Foley offered the following tips for safety when it comes to "social media transactions.":
- Arrange to meet at a public place like the Hartford Police Department.
- Bring someone with you and don't go by yourself.
- "Trust your instincts."
- Meet in a public place rather than a secluded area.
- Don't meet with a stranger at your home or theirs.
- Take particular caution if you're buying or selling something that's highly valuable.
- Conduct the transaction during the day.
- Something is normally too good to be true if it seems like it is.
- Let you're family or a friend know about your plans
- Bring your cell phone with you.
Photo Credit: Hartford Police Department