Elgin police offer safe space for Craigslist deals

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Thursday, June 5, 2014
Elgin police offer safe space for Craigslist deals
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The Elgin Police Department is offering its lobby and parking lot to residents and visitors as a safe space to complete Craigslist transactions

ELGIN, Ill. (WLS) -- Elgin residents who are concerned about security when meeting with their Craigslist customers at home now have another option. The Elgin Police Department will let them use their lobby to wheel and deal.

Using anonymous classifieds services can pose risks to both the buyer and seller. To help circumvent and prevent common Craigslist-associated crimes, like theft, the Elgin police are offering lobby and parking lot for closing Craigslist transactions.

The police there have investigated many robberies and scams using Craigslist and other websites.

"One to two times a month we'll have some type of incident, whether it's a theft or a robbery," said Deputy Chief Bill Wolf, "where somebody used some type of online service to conduct a transaction."

As a step in reducing the opportunity for a crime to occur, members of the public - including both residents and any non-residents who may be passing through or coming to Elgin to complete a Craigslist deal - can use the police station's lobby for smaller transactions and the parking lot for larger ones, like selling or buying a car. The police station is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

"Usually you want someone there with you," said Elgin resident Molly Center, "so if you don't have that option, it's a very safe option for those people."

"The victims that we've had have been all genders, all ages, really across the board," said Dep. Chief Wolf. "It makes sense for everybody to go to a safe place to do a transaction."