They are called “safe zones”.  Two Police forces in Eastern Ontario are offering space for folks to buy and sell their online goods all under the watchful eye of cop cameras. This issue is especially important after two vicious attacks in Ottawa this week over cellphones that were advertised through Kijiji.

Now Brockville and Kingston police say bring your transactions to us.

Kingston resident Bryant Tong uses Kijiji a lot to buy and sell all sorts of things. So when he heard about the “safe zone” out front of the Kingston police headquarters on Division Street, he figured there couldn't be a better place to conduct a deal. 

“There are always risks when you meet up with someone,” says Tong, “That's why you need to take the precautions you do.”

The property is under surveillance 24/7. Anyone who doesn't want to meet a buyer here might have a reason, figures Tong.

“It certainly would be a red flag, a reason you might have to reconsider the transaction there.”

Kingston Police have been offering the safe exchange zone for about a year, according to Cst. Steve Koopman, “What we're offering here is a location at the Kingston police headquarters in the visitor parking lot or the front lobby for smaller items,” Koopman says, “to be able to do those transactions where you don't need to feel concerned about your safety.”

Brockville police have gone one step further putting up a bit of signage.

“We can pick up the whole parking lot,” says Staff-Sergeant Todd Bertrend with the Brockville Police, “and it is staffed 24/7 and even out our front doors, we are aware if anyone pulled up in our parking lot.  It’s a great spot.”

The “safe zone” has only been there for about a month but already it is well-utilized. The safe zones are popping up all over the country and beyond as more people are conducting internet purchases and are worried about their safety.

And with reason. Just two days ago in Ottawa, one man was dragged behind a car and another victim stabbed after Kijiji sales that went horribly wrong.  Both men were trying to sell their cellphones.

Despite several violent incidents in Ottawa, police here say they have no plans to establish a similar safe zone.

“It's a really big city,” says Staff Sergeant Mike Maarbosch with the Ottawa Police Robbery Unit, “to come up with one location that's readily accessible to everybody within the city of Ottawa. It's not really practical at this point.”

But that does not mean that you can't arrange to meet at a police station or at the very least, at a public space like a coffee shop. Haarbosch says just doing a transaction curbside in front of your house is definitely not a good idea.