As of mid-November 2017, the Drexel Police Station at 3219 Arch St. has been designated an online transaction safe zone.
The front lobby of the station will be open to Drexel students, staff and members of the West Philadelphia community as a place to conduct transactions arranged online. It is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The zone is also under constant video surveillance.
“Due to concerns about scams, robberies and killings tied to purchases arranged through Craigslist and other online marketplaces, the Drexel University Police Department is offering a safe area for people to complete their transactions. Our goal is to prevent crimes that could potentially occur when individuals engage in online transactions with strangers,” Drexel Police said in an email to the Triangle.
Electricity is provided so buyers can test out electronics before completing a purchase. However, members of the police department cannot take part in any transaction.
“Members of the Drexel University Police Department will not participate in transactions or act as witnesses, nor are they available for legal advice or allowed to settle disputes between parties involved in transactions occurring in our facilities,” the department said in an email to the Triangle.
Citizens looking to utilize the safe zone do not have to notify the department before doing so.
“They can just show up and do the transaction in the building as we have someone there 24/7 and they would be on camera as well,” community relations officer Thomas Cirone explained in an email.
Any legal transaction can take place in the safe zone, except for the exchange of drugs, drug paraphernalia or weapons.
There are two other registered safe zones for online transactions within 25 miles of Philadelphia, the Conshohocken Police Department and the Mantua Township Police Department.
The Philadelphia Police Department also has a safe exchange zone program in place. Buyers and sellers can go to any of the 21 Philadelphia police headquarters to make a safe online transaction. Similar to the program in place at the Drexel Police Station, lobbies of the police headquarters are open 24 hours a day and are under video surveillance so online transactions can be completed in a neutral and safe location.
Questions about the Drexel University Online Public Safety Zone can be answered by Cirone at 215-895-0209. More information about Philadelphia Safe Exchange Zone program can be found on the Philadelphia Police website.