With at least 84 killings linked to Craigslist advertisements, police and sheriff’s departments around the United States have taken safety measures that allow people to use police stations to complete transactions that originated online.
The AIM Group, a consulting company for classified advertising businesses based in Altamonte Springs, Florida, has launched the “SafeTrade” initiative to promote the use of police facilities to conduct in-person transactions with strangers.
“SafeTrade can eliminate almost all of the killings, robberies and rip-offs associated with buying and selling on Craigslist and other online sites,” said Peter M. Zollman of the AIM Group. “Simply by meeting at a police station, buyers and sellers can trade with the confidence that they will be safe.
Almost a generic term
“It’s a tragedy that the term ‘Craigslist killer’ has become almost a generic term. We have documented 84 killings linked to Craigslist transactions since 2007. In 2014 alone, there were 21 killings associated with Craigslist transactions, including three in one 24-hour period. And there have been four already in 2015. That’s outrageous! Craigslist could and should do much more to promote safety and security for its users.”
The SafeTrade logo can be used free of charge on any ads posted on classified websites, in newspapers and publications, and by police departments to indicate they are hosting SafeTrade transactions. Participating police departments can post banners or use logos referring to their facilities as SafeTrade Stations.
Safety most vital concern
“We want to do all that we can to provide a safe environment to perform these transactions that were started online,” said Officer David Baldwin of the Marietta, Georgia, police department. “People who make these transactions online are going to meet face to face; we will definitely provide a safe place for them. Their safety is the most vital concern that we have.”
“If we can prevent just one rip-off, scam or killing, it will be worth it,” said Zollman. “Everyone who participates in a transaction online should be safe. SafeTrade will make that easier.”
The AIM Group will work with classified sites to launch SafeTrade programs, and provide support for SafeTrade Stations. For more information call 407-788-2780 or see AIMGroup.com.