LAKELAND – Online commerce has been a growing phenomenon since the turn of the century, but with the opportunity to buy and sell things online can come increased risk for both purchasers and sellers.
To combat the risks of selling and buying from strangers online, all 27 RCMP detachments of the Eastern Alberta District will be implementing a Safe Exchange Zone program as of Nov. 16.
This will be a new program for 22 eastern detachments, while five other detachments had previously established a Safe Exchange Zone, including the Bonnyville Detachment.
“With the advent of new technologies, Alberta residents actively connect with one another to conduct sales and purchases. Although many of these transactions occur safely without issue, there are safety risks associated with meeting anyone online,” states the Alberta RCMP.
However, these safe zones can be used for more than online commerce.
“There are many other interactions where the public may have concerns about their safety such as child custody or document exchanges,” notes the RCMP.
Safe Exchange Zones will be clearly marked outside Eastern Alberta District Detachments as either parking stalls or a designated area.
Residents do not need to contact the detachment to use the site. Those who want to use the safe zone can simply advise the person that they are meeting to go to the Safe Exchange Zone outside the designated detachment.
“These Safe Exchange Zones will provide a safer place for citizens to safely meet while making sales, purchases and exchanges, including custody and visitation arrangements,” says Staff Sgt. Sarah Parke of the Bonnyville RCMP Detachment.
The Safe Exchange Zone at Bonnyville Detachment is located in the west parking lot.
These zones are not specifically monitored by the detachment or surveillance cameras. However, detachment officers are available to assist should there be a call for assistance, indicates RCMP.
Any criminal activity is subject to enforcement action.