More than 60 million people in the United States use Craigslist each month.
The site, along with other online marketplaces, is a popular place to buy and sell items to strangers.
“Here in Wisconsin there’s an uptick in violent activity occurring with Craigslist and other transactions online,” said Michael Lambie, Fox Valley Metro Police Community Support Officer.
The Fox Valley Metro Police Department said it realizes it may be dangerous to do business online. It invites people to its parking lot to make those transactions.
“If we have the capability here to monitor our parking lot 24/7 then it’s something we need to share with our community to let them know that there’s a safe, public place here where they can conduct those transactions,” Lambie said.
The department began promoting its parking lot as a safe transaction location in the past few years.
“We share this message via our Facebook, our Twitter, other social media accounts,” said Lambie.
He said police hear about problems resulting from Craigslist or similar websites each week and said lots of people make transactions in the department’s parking lot. Often times, he said, those people have had problems in the past.
“Once they’re victimized once I think they learn that it’s worth taking the extra step to go the extra mile coming to a local police department,” Lambie said.
Fox Valley Metro Police said if you’re meeting someone from an online ad you should contact your local police department and see if you can meet there. If not, a public place is a good alternative.