Calgary Police Consider "Craigslist Safe Zones" to Prevent Crimes

Calgary may soon be taking steps to prevent in-person crimes that begin on the Internet.

Many cities in Canada and the United States have begun establishing "safe zones" in or near police station parking lots for people buying and selling things through online classified services like Craigslist and Kijiji. The question has now been raised in the Calgary Police department, and users of online classifieds might soon see some action.

These services, popular with many in Calgary for making it easy to sell unwanted items for extra cash or purchase needed items at a discount, are also popular with people looking to commit fraud, sell stolen items, or engage in other criminal activity. There have also been cases of kidnapping, assaults, and other violent crimes during meet-ups to exchange goods and cash.

If sales were to take place in a Calgary Police parking lot or other area in easy view of law enforcement, both buyers and sellers would have reason to feel more secure. Police, too, would have fewer crimes to investigate following Craigslist purchases gone wrong.

As of now, there are no firm plans to institute the safe zone policies in the Calgary area, though a spokesperson for the Calgary Police has indicated that the concept will be considered:

"We don't have anything like this at this point, but I've asked that this be looked at," said Cst. Carter Duchesney of Calgary's Crime Prevention Unit. "I don't know about an exact timeline, but the question has now been asked."