Durham Sheriff’s Office creates safe space for online transactions

DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) – After you agree to buy something online through your computer or app, you have to meet up with the stranger for the transaction.

Durham police said recently potential buyers are becoming victims after meeting up with strangers who say they’re selling items.

Instead, those victims are being robbed.

RELATED: 3 armed robberies connected to mobile shopping app, Durham police say

Police say it’s happened three different times on the 600 block of Troy Street this month.

“I wouldn’t think of somebody robbing me for a Craigslist transaction,” said Christian Sharp.

He lives on Troy Street where police say the robberies happened. He says when he meets up for transactions, he doesn’t go alone.

“I usually take somebody with me, maybe if I was concerned, like it was sketchy,” Sharp said.

For some, that might not be enough, so the Durham County Sheriff’s Office is stepping in.

The office says its created a safe place to make those transactions.

The Safe Haven program allows you to meet at the Justice Center parking lot on South Roxboro Street to make that transaction.

“It’s a well-lit parking lot,” said sergeant Bryce Meyers. “There’s only one way in, one way out. It’s covered by cameras and you’ll have a sworn-in law enforcement officer here to monitor your exchange.”

Meyers says there are many risks when meeting a stranger and the program is designed to create a safe haven for everyone, and make criminals think twice.

“You hope to think what a safer place than in the presence of law enforcement officer,” said Meyers. “Again, you’re surrounded, there’s nowhere to go so this is probably about the safest place you can go to do that type of exchange.”

Sharp didn’t want it to come to this.

“It’s unfortunate that we have to that to each other,” Sharp said. “I think that we should just be a community.”

The service is available Monday through Friday from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. and from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

Buyers or sellers must schedule an appointment by contacting the Sheriff’s Office Communications Center at 919-560-0900.

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