What is a Safe Trade Station?
A Safe Trade Station is a location set up by your local Police department to aid in the safe transfer of goods purchased online at classified or social media web sites, such as Craigslist, Facebook, and other online sites where you deal directly with another person to exchange money for items purchased.
Safe Trade Stations could be identified by other names in your area, such as; Safe Exchange Location, Safe Trade Zone, or other names. But they are all located at your local Police department.
Some safe trade stations are located in the stations parking lot while other safe trade areas are located within the police station it's self. In either case, the safe exchange location will be well marked and under video surveillance.
Some, but not all Police stations will check serial numbers to determine if an item is stolen or not. You can call your local police department to check if they do offer this service.
Safe Trade Locations vary in their hours of use, but in all cases, you should only use them during daylight hours. You should call your local Police department for hours, location, and services offered.
Safe Trade Locations are free to use and are provided as a public service of your local Law Enforcement Agency.
Why should I use a Safe Trade Station?:
Safe Trade Stations were created as a response to crimes committed against people engaged in the task of receiving or delivering goods from online classifieds and social media sites.
Many people have been mugged, robbed, held at gunpoint and some even murdered while exchanging goods from an online transaction. Simply meeting in a public place, a walmart parking lot or other public locations is just not an ideal solution any more.
When transacting craigslist or other social media purchases, as either the buyer or seller, you should always insist on conducting your business in the safest possible location to avoid any type of danger to yourself. It just makes good sense to conduct your transaction at your local Police station, Sheriff's station or other Law Enforcement locations.
Did you know that you can also use a Safe Trade Station to meet up with your Ex for the purpose of a child custody exchange? Yes, if you feel uncomfortable about doing a child custody exchange, you can use a safe trade station to do that as well.
Safe exchange locations are not just for the transfer of goods, they can be used for any legal transaction where you may have concerns about the other party.
What if the other party does not want to meet at a Police station?
Well that should be a "Red Flag" right off the bat. There is no reason why any legitimate person should not agree to meet at a Police or Sheriffs station. If a person attempts to pressure you to meet somewhere other than a Safe Trade Station, then you should be concerned as to their character and intentions.
They may give you perfectly reasonable sounding excuses, but when it comes down to it, there is a reason they are afraid to meet you at a Safe Trade Station.
If they refuse to meet with you at a safe trade location and attempt to pressure you into meeting elsewhere, you may want to consider terminating the transaction and looking for that item elsewhere.
Your safety should never be compromised in any way, what's so ever.
Also see "How To Stay Safe Using Craigslist"
What if my Police Station has no Safe Trade Zone?
If your local Police station has no safe trade area set up, then ask them to create one. One of the best way Law Enforcement has to determine if the public wants something, is when the public asks for it. If enough people ask, then it will most likely happen.
But, in the meantime, simply call your local Police department and ask them if you could conduct your transaction in their lobby or at least by the front door to the station. There should be no reason for them to refuse such a request, one of the main functions of every Law Enforcement agency is to keep citizens safe.
If you live in a population zone, you can check near by Police departments to see if they offer a Safe Trade Zone. Many times, you can drive a few miles and use the Safe Transfer Area of another cities Police department.
Things you can not bring to a Safe Exchange Location.
Guns: You can not exchange firearms at a Safe Trade Station.
Drugs: You can not bring drugs to a Safe Trade Station.
Even if you are in a Marijuana legal state, you must leave it at home.
Any Illegal items.
Some further thoughts about safety.
If you are the seller, it is perfectly alright to state in your ad that you will only transfer items at a Safe Exchange Location.
It is always a good idea to bring someone with you to an exchange.
Never, give your address out to the people you are going to meet up with.
Never carry excess cash with you.
Never meet after dark.
For more safety ideas, please read: "How To Stay Safe Using Craigslist"
It is also important to note that even though you are at the police station while transacting your business, the Police will not become involved with your transaction in any manner. They will stop a crime, but the details of your transaction is your responsibility.
The Police can not guarantee your transaction will be performed smoothly. They also can not guarantee that the other party won't exhibit unpredictable behavior.
A Safe Trade Station is simply a safer place to conduct your transaction but is not 100% guaranteed to be event free.
The Police are there to protect you from a crime, not to help you argue over superfluous details of your transaction.