Spartanburg City Police announced a new partnership with QuickTrip to create “exchange zones” that they hope will prevent citizens from becoming victims of fraud, theft, robbery and assault.
“Exchange zones” are a place for people, who bought or sold items on website such as Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace, to safely make transactions.
According to Major Art Littlejohn, before the exchange zones were created, the City of Spartanburg didn’t have a safe place for online transactions.
The QuickTrip gas stations, on E. St. John Street and W. Main St., will double as a place to grab a bite, fuel up and now meetup to make transactions for online purchases.
“This is not something new for them, but it is new for Spartanburg,” Major Littlejohn told 7News.
“Exchange Zones” originated as a pilot program between QT and a police department in Charlotte, N.C. The idea was to create a safe place for online sellers and buyers to meetup in person and complete the sale. The initiative has quickly spread to other cities.
“So the great thing about it is, they already have cameras installed. It’s well lit.” said Major Littlejohn. “As opposed to us, as a police department, having to outfit a place with cameras, go through and paint the parking lots and add the lighting.”
QuickTrip Exchange Zones are clearly marked with signage, outlined in red and under 24-7 video and audio surveillance.
“We think it’s a really good spot,” said Mike Thornbrugh, QuickTrip spokesperson.
If you plan to conduct business ath the Exchange Zones officers encourage people to practice the following safety tips:
- Always conduct business in the daytime
- Meet at a public location where there are many people
- Do not allow strangers to come to your home
- Be familiar with your surroundings at all times
- Arrive earlier to determine your exit strategy
- Take your personal cell phone with you
- If you go alone make sure someone knows your plans
- Call police immediately if something happens
- Remember, if it is too good to be true it probably is
“It’s not 100 percent totally safe, it’s not a total fix.” Major Littlejohn told 7News. “However, it is a layer of safety that you can take in place.”
Officers say while it’s a safe place to meetup, people can still be scammed. So the best thing to do is contact police if a transaction seems fishy.
“Someone could still give you counterfeit money, they could still give you a bad product that doesn’t work. They could give you a stolen product, that you’re buying… there’s just no way of knowing it.” Major Littlejohn said.
QuickTrip spokesperson Mike Thornbrugh tells 7News they do go through all the possible scenarios to ensure all safety measures are in place to protect the safety of customers, employees and those using the Exchange Zones.
Police Officers says if a transaction goes bad, people should report it to investigators immediately. They say the video is high quality and can be easily retrieved in a timely manner.