Exchanging items purchased online just got a lot safer for Richmond residents thanks to some new parking places implemented at the Richmond Police Department (RPD).
The so-called Community Exchange Zone parking spaces were recently installed “in an effort to help reduce ‘meet-up’ robberies,” according to the RPD on its Facebook page.
“In a continued effort to make our city an even safer place, the Richmond Police Department has identified two parking stalls within the parking lot of the department as [a] Community Exchange Zone. The yellow painted parking stalls and sign…are visible from the front doors of the department with lighting and surveillance cameras in the area,” the RPD continued in its post.
“It is our hope that the residents of Richmond and the public utilize the Community Exchange Zone to facilitate online/internet meetings, custody exchanges or any other meetings with strangers.”
The RPD’s Community Exchange Zone comes on the heels of a spate of internet robberies during which now-identified suspects—posing as buyers or sellers—threatened the victims with a gun and robbed them.
According to the RPD, Robbery Unit Detective Anne Shiraishi identified a total of five robberies, two thefts and nine victims in Richmond from the time period stretching from December of 2016 to June of 2017.
Detective Shiraishi’s investigation identified that hot-ticket items recurring in most of the robberies were “Yeezy” shoes, Apple iPhones and MacBooks and that the suspects located the buyers and sellers on internet forums and Facebook’s marketplace.
While the RPD implemented the Community Exchange Zone to help thwart meet-up robberies and to create a safe space for legal exchanges of various sorts, it did caution on its Facebook post that it is not responsible for the legitimacy or value of any transactions that occur there, nor will it be involved in any civil disputes arising from those transactions.
“It’s another example of how the RPD is trying to improve the safety and wellbeing of our citizens,” said For Richmond Board Chair Lt. Joseph Schlemmer of the RPD about the Community Exchange Zone. “It goes hand-in-hand with our commitment to crime prevention and public safety.”
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-Kathy Chouteau, firstname.lastname@example.org