New safe zone for selling items online opens in San Mateo County

San Mateo County is set to unveil today a new safe exchange zone for residents to meet in person when selling or purchasing items online.

The internet safe exchange zone allows sellers and customers to meet and conduct transactions at two designated parking spots in Redwood City, said Bill Silverfarb, a legislative aide for Supervisor David Canepa. The zone is located at the Maple Street Correctional Center at 1300 Maple St. across from the Police Department and has 24-hour video surveillance, he said.

The exchange zone is meant to increase safety of buying and selling items online, a practice that can be both convenient and risky.

When a Daly City resident met a potential buyer at Hunters Point Park in 2013, he was shot to death, Silverfarb said. The victim, Ikenna Uwakah, advertised the Sony Playstation 4 video game console on multiple online platforms, including Craigslist and Instagram.

Following that incident, Daly City became the first city in San Mateo County to designate a safe exchange zone last year, in two parking spots at City Hall directly in front of the police station.

San Mateo County is believed to be the first in the Bay Area to initiate a county-implemented internet safe exchange zone.

The hope is that other cities in the county will implement safe exchange zones as well, county
officials said.

The cities of Fremont and Clovis, as well as Calaveras County, are other locations in California that have safe exchange zones, Silverfarb said.

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