BARNEGAT – Found yourself a great deal on the internet? Don’t want to be a victim of online cheats or predators? Use the Safe Exchange Zone.
Barnegat Township now has its very own Safe Exchange Zone for you to meet up and exchange those items in a safe space.
According to Police Chief Keith Germain, Barnegat Township Police Department rolled out the new program back in late March. It is now in full swing, with designated parking spaces located at the Barnegat Township Police Department, 900 W. Bay Ave., for individuals to swap cash for goods.
New Jersey towns began adopting the Safe Exchange Zone program a few years back. The program provides locals with a place where they can come to buy or sell online items under the cover of police protection, without the fear of theft or worse.
Barnegat’s safe exchange area is modeled after neighboring townships’, such as Stafford Township. Stafford established its own Safe Exchange Zone in 2017, designating two parking spaces in the town hall and police department lot.
“The area is clearly signed and marked by white curbing…It is under 24 hour surveillance,” Chief Germain told Jersey Shore Online. “As an added service, if requested, officers will check items with serial numbers to ensure that they are not reported lost or stolen.”
The idea for implementing a Safe Exchange Zone came from both residents and professionals in the township. Germain noted that Patrolman Alex Hoffman of the Barnegat Police recommended the idea “as part of an internal program that encourages employees at all levels of the agency to participate in identifying ways that we can improve our service to the community.”
The idea was also fielded by local community groups like the Neighborhood Watch and discussed at community-oriented events like Coffee with a Cop.
If you find yourself a great deal on popular buy-and-sell sites such as Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace, it might be a good idea to park in the Safe Exchange Zone to ensure the safety on you and your purchased items.