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Grand Forks Police launch Safe Trade Zone for online purchases

Community members in Grand Forks now have a safe place to trade items they purchase online. The Grand Forks Police Department announced Friday it has set up a Safe Trade Zone. The spot, located in the west parking lot of the Police Department, 122 S.

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Submitted photo

Community members in Grand Forks now have a safe place to trade items they purchase online.

The Grand Forks Police Department announced Friday it has set up a Safe Trade Zone. The spot, located in the west parking lot of the Police Department, 122 S. Fifth St., will be under video surveillance 24/7 and is marked by signs, the Police Department said in a news release.

The area is meant to give residents a safe location to exchange goods that are bought or sold over the internet, which is becoming more common, Lt. Jeremy Moe told the Herald.

"We're always trying to keep up with what is current," he said. "It's a trend nationally that we wanted to stay on top of as well."

Moe said law enforcement agencies across the country, including in North Dakota, have set up similar spots for community members to trade. The Fargo Police Department installed signs in late June at the parking lot of its substation at 1230 25th St. S., touting it as a well-lit area under camera surveillance.

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Fargo police also promoted it as a way to catch scammers.

Moe said community members in Grand Forks told him they wanted a place like the Safe Trade Zone in the city.

"This isn't a new idea that we are having ourselves," he said. "We just want to make sure we have a good safe place for people to come exchange goods."

The step is proactive, Moe said, adding he couldn't think of any incidents in which an exchange stemming from an online purchase resulted in a reported crime.

There won't be an officer in the lot at all times, though police can review the video for inappropriate behavior.

Still, Moe said those using the zone should use common sense when trading items they sold or purchased online, such as not meeting in the middle of the night or avoiding suspected scammers.

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