Those who make purchases online through local classifieds and auction sites now have a safer way to make the exchange in person.
“About 95 percent of all online fraud is never reported” said Constable Monique Baker at a media event to launch Project Safe Trade. “Many incidents go unreported due to shame or embarrassment ”
Project Safe Trade is a community safety initiative that is “municipality driven” in keeping with the community mobilization concepts. The purpose is to create a ‘community safe zone’ at an OPP detachment parking lot, to facilitate online property transactions. The perceived presence of law enforcement ideally may deter unlawful behaviour.
Online classified and auction sites are often used as tools to sell stolen property to unknowing victims and can present a safety threat. In order to increase public safety and reduce crime, the Ontario Provincial Police is inviting members of the public to use their OPP detachment parking lot to facilitate property transactions arranged online.
The idea behind the initiative stems from the brutal murder of a southern Ontario man who was selling his truck online. Tim Bosma, 32, vanished in May 2013 after taking two men on a test drive of a truck he was trying to sell. Bosma’s charred remains were later found on a farm owned by one of the men in Ayr, Ont.
“Sault Ste. Marie OPP is the first detachment in Northeast Region to launch this safety initiative in conjunction with our community partners with SaultOnline.com and the City Of Sault Ste. Marie.” Baker said.
The OPP parking lot currently have two signs in place where the transaction can take place. Eventually two parking spaces out front of the OPP detachment will be painted and marked for people to make their safe trade.
Baker said that the OPP will not be monitoring the safe trade zones, and the exchanges can occur day or night but encourage people that if they have a feeling of illegal trade or fraud to report it to police.