Upper Darby residents can now make purchases from websites like Craig’s List at the safe zone right here inside the Upper Darby Police Station. Monday, Upper Darby Mayor Tom Micozzie, Police Superintendent Mike Chitwood and Lt. James Reif made the announcement to ensure residents a safe place to exchange goods and payments. The plan was put into effect on Cyber Monday because “We picked Monday because in our opinion it is the beginning of the true Christmas shopping season,” Chitwood said. The Safe Transaction Zones are the entrance lobby of the police station and the curbside in front of the police station at 7236 West Chester Pike.
According to Chitwood, “We placed one sign in front of the police station on the grass and another sign in the lobby designating a safe online transaction zone for Facebook, Craigslist and eBay buyers and sellers” and that “The purpose is to protect community members who buy and sell on social media.” The idea for the safe zone had been discussed when Upper Darby resident Jill Melissa Carey’s post on Facebook on the page Upper Darby Sentinel News. She wrote on Facebook that “This will help ensure safety for buyer/seller, cut down those crimes, benefitting police as well, they won’t have a call to investigate. No paper work, no man power used to investigate or look for this criminal.”
Chitwood continued the description of the safe zone as” police will not act as witnesses and are not available for legal advice or allowed to settle disputes. Our goal is to prevent crimes. These social media online transactions are increasing daily and so are the issues where the safety of the buyer and or the seller is jeopardized. Mayor Tom Micozzie said that “I think it’s a great idea just to prevent a problem,” Micozzie said. “Hopefully, we can prevent something from happening. Lt. Reif checked into it and found Cherry Hill, N.J., and Norristown have programs, so he got additional information to establish a Safe Transaction Zone right here in Upper Darby. Chitwood talked about the dangers attributed to Craigslist sales, that “Law Street identified 58 murderers and 45 murder victims connected to Craigslist postings (from 2009 through June 2014).” Chitwood also said that “each of these crimes stemmed from a Craigslist interaction of some sort. It’s a problem. These bums are out there ready to pounce. They rob, they steal, they pillage and we don’t want it to happen here.” There have not been any crimes reported here in Upper Darby as a result social media exchanges.
Chitwood said, “We have had identity thefts and checks stolen, but nothing involving social media, and we don’t want it to happen here.” Chitwood also remarked, “People can come right into the lobby for the exchange. This is a preventative, proactive approach. We are offering the police station as a safe haven for these exchanges. Our goal is to prevent crimes that could potentially occur when individuals engage in online transactions with strangers.”