ROUND ROCK, Texas (KXAN) — Sites like Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist can be great places to find secondhand deals, but meeting up with a stranger for those items can still be a risk.
The Round Rock Police Department is one of just a few sites in the Austin area that has a designated Safe Exchange Zone.
Two spots in the department’s parking lot are reserved for sellers and buyers to exchange their items in a public, well-lit area that also has 24/7 surveillance.
“It’s safer here than in a parking lot, an alley or going to somebody’s house or having them come to your house,” Round Rock Police Chief Allen Banks said.
RRPD’s safe zone was designated in 2015. A search on a website that tracks safe trading spots in the U.S. shows no listings in Austin, but some nearby.
For traders that do not have zones like this, longtime trader and seller Lori Land of Round Rock says she meets in public spaces, during the day, and tries not to meet anyone while she’s alone.
Land says she has had a handful of strange and dangerous meet ups over the years which is why she tries to only make trades at the RRPD’s Safe Exchange Zone.
“I did meet a gentleman, he was trying to get very affectionate. And he hugged and licked me,” Land said.