PEI

E-Watch provides safe location for private online transactions

A new safe zone has been established in Charlottetown for people buying and selling items online to meet to make their transactions.

'Just a comfort thing for people'

Charlottetown police have installed a security camera outside their station to create a safe zone for online transactions. (Mitch Cormier/CBC)

A new safe zone has been established in Charlottetown for people buying and selling items online to meet to make their transactions.

It's called the E-Watch Safe Exchange Zone, and it's located in front of the city's police station on Kirkwood Drive. The zone consists of two parking spaces, signage and 24-hour video surveillance.

The idea for the safe exchange zone came from the city's Youth Retention Advisory Board, one of 18 recommendations in its report to council last fall.

Charlottetown Mayor Clifford Lee (left) stands with Zac Murphy in the E-Watch Safe Exchange Zone. (Mitch Cormier/CBC)

Board member Zac Murphy said the idea came from a common concern expressed in a survey the board conducted.

"I don't think there was any kind of horror stories, it was more so just a comfort thing for people," said Murphy.

"A lot of people weren't always comfortable with someone coming to their home to pick something up and knowing where they live and maybe the layout of their home or vice versa."

Caveat emptor still applies

Police said they won't be getting involved in the transactions or verifying the authenticity of items, but they are nearby if something happens.

They encourage people making online transactions in person to bring a friend or family member with them and inspect items before buying them.

Murphy said he hopes the city will act on more of the board's recommendations in the future.

With files from Mitch Cormier