Early this year, a Georgia couple was murdered when they tried to buy a vintage car on Craigslist. Last year, a Maryland man was shot dead when he tried to sell a video-game system via Craigslist.
When my husband and I downsized a few years back, we sold a lot of things on Craigslist. Everything went fine, but now I’m wondering if we were too trusting.
I asked Lieutenant Raymond Foster, a law-enforcement consultant and 24-year veteran of the Los Angeles Police Department, now retired, what’s the best way to protect yourself. He suggested something I hadn’t thought of—whether you’re selling or buying, meet in the lobby or parking lot of a local police station. What a great idea, I thought. What could be safer than a place crawling with cops!
Then I wondered how the police in my town would feel about me using their parking lot for commerce. I mean, in this day and age of terrorism, would they want people in their lobbies or parking lots who didn’t really need to be there?
“Many police agencies actually are setting aside an area of their lobby and/or parking lot for these transactions,” Lieutenant Foster said. “Many other transactions often take place at police stations. For example, because of custody disputes, many divorced couples exchange children at the police station.”
Of course, using a police station for a Craigslist deal works only if you have something that’s small enough to put in a car—or if it’s a car that you’re buying or selling. But in the two cases I mentioned earlier, it very likely would have saved lives.