Edison to provide safe zone for item exchanges

Staff Writer

EDISON — The lobby of police headquarters will become a “safe, neutral exchange” zone for e-commerce transactions.

“E-commerce transactions are increasingly popular,” said Mayor Thomas Lankey, who recommended the Township Council enact an ordinance creating the safe zone. “We recognize that a growing number of people are using online classified [advertisements] to buy and sell merchandise from personal items like jewelry and collectibles to memorabilia and antiques.”

Lankey said too often, online strangers choose to meet at their homes to exchange money for goods, which can be unwise and unsafe.

“Edison will provide a secure environment where people can feel comfortable and safe making these exchanges,” he said.

The Township Council is expected to introduce the measure at a meeting on April 12.

Many municipalities across the state have created safe zones.

Police Chief Thomas Bryan said law enforcement agencies in New Jersey and elsewhere have seen “a number of e-commerce transactions that end in robberies, assaults and other crimes.”

“We definitely do not want any of our residents to be victimized,” he said.

While Edison police officers would not physically monitor transactions, Bryan said “if anything goes wrong, or if a crime is committed, officers could respond to the lobby within seconds.”

Edison’s proposed ordinance would provide peace of mind for residents engaged in online transactions with strangers; make the police headquarters lobby available 24 hours a day, seven days per week; for in person transactions to complete online sales; enable transactions to be monitored and recorded on surveillance cameras and prohibit motor vehicles or weapons of any kind from being exchanged.

Police headquarters is located at 100 Municipal Boulevard.