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'Exchange zone' to help Coquitlam sellers, buyers make safe transactions

RCMP have added a sign outside its Guildford Way building in a well-lit, 24/7 surveyed area, to help reduce theft and other crimes.

When selling or buying items online, there's always a possibility that the transaction might go south, including theft, fraud or, in some cases, assault.

Coquitlam Mounties are offering local residents an area outside the local detachment to ensure in-person exchanges are secure and under their watchful eye for the worse-case scenario.

It's called an "exchange zone" and you can't miss it as it's right outside the front doors of the RCMP's main building (2986 Guildford Way).

In a release today (Jan. 20), spokesperson Cpl. Alexa Hodgins explained the sign is posted on a brick wall in a well-lit plaza that's monitored by security cameras.

"The safety and security of the community is our top priority," she said. "This is an excellent way to promote safe and respectful transactions."

The sign even indicates that the exchange zone is under 24/7 surveillance, warning potential thieves they'll be caught on camera if they try to pull a fast one and the seller or buyer would have easy access to help.

Hodgins added, however, the site won't be actively monitored.

She encourages buyers and sellers that want to use the exchange zone for transactions to arrange meet times during the detachment's business hours — 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday to Friday.

"Many people have become victims of crimes such as robberies, frauds and thefts when attempting to buy or sell property online," Coquitlam RCMP's statement further reads.

"Coquitlam RCMP aims to increase public safety and reduce crime by giving people a place to conduct face to face transactions."

As well, the exchange zone can also be used for transferring children between parents or guardians.

For those who don't want to use the area, Mounties have provided the following tips for buyers and sellers when scheduling an in-person meet:

  • Complete your transaction during daytime hours
  • Bring a family or a friend with you
  • Never complete a transaction by mail
  • Limit the amount of personal information you provide
  • Meet at a public location which is well lit and busy
  • If something seems too good to be true, it probably is

Anyone who feels they're in immediate danger during these transactions is encouraged to call 911.