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The City Journals

Safe Exchange Zone: Offers Peace of Mind

Sep 09, 2015 11:39AM ● By Bryan Scott


By Stacy Nielsen

Councilman Steve Fairbanks recommended the establishment of a Sandy City Safe Exchange Zone at the city council meeting on July 28. 

“The motivation was after reading reports of those who were doing transactions on Craigslist, primarily, and they ended up being robbed,” Fairbanks said. “After watching a news story with my son, we started talking about a Safe Exchange Zone and how to do it.” 

Fairbanks then called the Sandy City chief of police, Kevin Thacker, who talked to his command staff and, “they all thought it was an excellent idea.” 

“It’s a place to feel more comfortable to make exchanges. There will be a couple of parking spaces designated for that at the police department,” Fairbanks said. “The parking lot at city hall is already monitored by cameras. We don’t assume any responsibility or police presence.” 

Individuals who use the Safe Exchange Zone have the added benefit of video monitoring for making a deal that could potentially go wrong.

“Let’s say if someone is suspicious they are receiving stolen property, they can then go straight to the police station and report it. And we already have the video of the transaction,” Fairbanks said.

The exchange area will not cost additional money, but is valuable peace of mind for members of the community.

“Our biggest challenge right now is a lot of the area where we park is under construction, but it’s easy to designate a couple of parking spaces; look for it within the next month,” Fairbanks said.

Police departments nationwide have started implementing more “safe zones” for buyers and sellers to make transactions in a safer environment. Here in Utah, that could be deals made from websites such as Craigslist or KSL. Sandy City is one of the first to implement a Safe Exchange Zone in Salt Lake County.