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Columbia police lobby becomes Craigslist safe zone

The Columbia Police Department has opened its lobby for online buyers and purchasers to exchange their items safely. The changes effective immediately.

Columbia police said this is not in response to crime in Columbia.

This comes just days after a Georgia couple went to buy a car off Craigslist and was killed.

One woman who uses Craigslist said this is something that has been needed for a long time.

“I think it’s a great idea. I think it’s extremely needed and I think a lot of families and a lot of people on Craigslist would be willing to do it,” said Amanda Miles, a woman who uses Craigslist.

Miles said she thinks if someone had bad intentions during an exchange, meeting in a police station will deter them.

Columbia police said it was not set up just to deter bad behavior.

“The idea behind the online exchange zone though is that it would actually deter people who are trying to sell those stolen items,” said Bryana Maupin with Columbia police.

Maupin points out there is video surveillance throughout the lobby of the police department.

She said if something turns out to be stolen, they have video of the exchange and who the person was.

“If somebody’s wanting to do something bad they’re not going to want to meet at a place like that,” said Miles.

Miles said she is weary of people who want to come to her home and make the exchange, especially after dark.

Columbia police said people cannot use the lobby for exchanging weapons, because they are not allowed on the property.

The lobby is open for online exchanges 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

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