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Greer police offer safe meeting place for online buyers and sellers

By Jim Fair, Editor
Published on Monday, September 19, 2016

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The City of Greer has designated a “safe zone” in the Miller Street parking lot – just outside the Greer Fire and Police departments – for mostly online merchandise sales.
 

Jim Fair

The City of Greer has designated a “safe zone” in the Miller Street parking lot – just outside the Greer Fire and Police departments – for mostly online merchandise sales.

 



Enlarge photo

An emergency box is found midway on the pole that connects directly into 911 dispatch.
 

Jim Fair

An emergency box is found midway on the pole that connects directly into 911 dispatch.

 



Enlarge photo

Tree limbs hide the emergency pole and security camera from view, still need trimming to allow for its full effect.
 

Jim Fair

Tree limbs hide the emergency pole and security camera from view, still need trimming to allow for its full effect.

 



Enlarge photo

Typical signage designating police safe zones and warning of arrest and prosecution.
 
 

Typical signage designating police safe zones and warning of arrest and prosecution.

 

 



Online merchandise buyers and sellers now have one of the safest places imaginable to make transactions in Greer.

The City of Greer has designated a “safe zone” in the Miller Street parking lot – just outside the Greer Fire and Police departments. The parking lot, although public, serves personnel at both departments 24/7.

A security camera and light is attached above a blue pole with an emergency call box that only requires an oversized red button to be pushed. "All 911 calls and security camera images are linked into the dispatch department,” Lt. Jim Holcombe said.

“We have a little more work to do that includes signage and trees,” Holcombe said. “It’s similar to those you see at hospitals.”

Holcombe said the idea was generated from officers observing what they have seen in other communities. “It’s just another opportunity our young officers have seen that will make our community safer," he said.

Some cities have offered transactions to be conducted inside their police lobby. Greer does not.

Virginia, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois and Indiana are some states that have also adopted safe zones at police precincts.

“I think the buyer and seller will feel much safer,” Steve Owens, city spokesman, said. “Obviously, there will be a quick response time.”

The online marketplace has proved to be an opportunity for criminals to murder, assault and rob customers as they try to buy or sell things like cars, apartments, electronics and furniture in mostly unprotected zones.

“There is risk with any online transaction when you meet any buyer or seller,” Owens said. “This is much better than meeting someone at a location that is known to be unsafe.”

If online marketplace users choose not to use the safe zones, law enforcement agencies offer the following safety tips:

• If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

• Conduct research on both the product you are buying and the person selling to/buying from.

• Never list your home address, phone number, or anything else that could be used to identify you.

• Be wary of individuals who solicit your business without your permission.

• There is safety in numbers. Always take someone with you to conduct a transaction.

• Monitor your children’s Internet activity, don’t be afraid to be nosy.

• Never meet in out of the way locations.

• Conduct business in a public area with people nearby and never inside of a vehicle.

• Don’t allow the other party to change the location once you arrive.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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