The Elk Grove police this month began offering a safe place where visitors can either buy or sell items with people they contacted on the Internet.

This “Community Exchange Zone” is in the Elk Grove police station’s parking lot and is monitored 24 hours a day by a security camera.

The new space is meant to combat the ongoing issue of Elk Grove residents being robbed by strangers they met online and then arranged to have an in-person transaction with them at a park or a residential street at night.  

This April, a local father and son were attacked by several strangers after they arranged to buy a cell phone via the Offer Up website.  

“We are very pleased to offer our Exchange Zone as a safe location for lawful custody exchanges and private property transactions,” Elk Grove Police Chief Bryan Noblett said. “Our data analysis has revealed a number of crimes associated with private property transactions that have occurred in various locations in our community.”

The Elk Grove police also invite parents to use the new zone as a “neutral site” for child custody exchanges.

Authorities noted that sales of drugs, alcohol, weapons, and illegal items will not be allowed in the exchange zone. City employees also can’t be used as official witnesses to settle civil disputes or watch transactions.

The Community Exchange Zone is marked by green parking spaces and is at 8400 Laguna Palms Way.