Nfld. & Labrador

RNC creates safe spaces to buy, sell and trade with online strangers

Are you wary of stranger danger when buying or selling things online? The Royal Newfoundland Constabulary has some new safe spaces to help.

Spots painted orange in St. John's, C.B.S. and Mount Pearl

The Royal Newfoundland Constabulary has painted two parking spaces orange at its St. John's headquarters. They are for buy-and-sell meetups. (Gary Locke/CBC)

Are you wary of stranger danger when buying or selling things online? The Royal Newfoundland Constabulary has a new initiative to help.

A pair of orange spaces are painted on the parking lots at police stations in St. John's, Mount Pearl and Conception Bay South. They are reserved for people meeting up to exchange items after connecting online.

"Not everybody is comfortable with having people meet at their residence, and it gives an opportunity to come to a controlled environment," says RNC Const. James Cadigan.

The idea came from a patrol officer, Const. Mike Hollett, and has been done by police forces in other cities.

The goal is to give people peace of mind when meeting up and to dissuade people with sinister motives.

RNC Const. James Cadigan is the force's media relations officer. (Gary Locke/CBC)

It's an unfortunate reality.

In 2016, a Toronto woman was allegedly assaulted after responding to an ad for a cat. A 52-year-old man was arrested.

The same year, a 68-year-old man in Toronto was arrested for sexual assault after a woman responded to a help wanted ad and they met for a job interview. 

Most notably, Tim Bosma was murdered in 2013 when Dellen Millard and Mark Smich responded to the ad Bosma had posted selling his truck.

Cadigan hopes people will feel free to use the spaces and avoid any similar situations on the northeast Avalon.

"This gives consumers and people selling goods an opportunity to come to a place close to a police station, near the front entrance and also under the cover of CCTV footage where they can exchange goods safely."

While the spots are already painted, the RNC will be doing an official launch sometime in the coming weeks.

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