Don’t let your deal become a steal

The beginning of the holiday season is a good time to remind online shoppers that while great deals can be found on Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, Next Door and other community-based websites, there can be dangers associated with meeting a stranger.

“Unfortunately, these type of websites can be also used by criminals who intend to take advantage of good-faith buyers or sellers,” UIC Police Chief Kevin Booker said. “In light of recent incidents on campus and in the city, we want to ensure that members of the UIC community can complete this type of sales transaction in a safe way.”

That’s why UICPD has established its police station lobby, 943 W. Maxwell St., as a Safe Exchange Zone in which community members can conduct personal sales transactions in a safe, neutral environment that is comfortable, well-lit and under video surveillance 24 hours a day.

“Law enforcement and university staff will not be involved in any way with the transactions,” Booker said. “We even provide designated parking spaces for the parties involved. These arrangements prevent crime from occurring — especially if one of the participants refuses to meet at our location. That’s a sign that they may be up to no good.”

If you must conduct transactions at another location, visit the Safe Exchange Zone webpage for helpful tips about how to stay safe during the sales process.

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