Surveilled area makes sales safer
By Scott Bellile
For anyone meeting a stranger to buy or sell items online, they can now complete their transaction safely at an internet purchase exchange location outside New London Police Department.
“We just want to encourage people that if you sell things on Craigslist, Facebook, that sort of thing, you can come out in front of the police department to do the exchange,” New London Police Chief Jeff Schlueter said at the Oct. 10 New London City Council meeting. “You can pull right up there and we’ll have you on surveillance so in case something happens you can always stop inside, or we’ll have if we need it.”
New London Police Capt. Chris Gregory said the police department was inspired by exchange locations implemented at police departments in Appleton and Hortonville.
Gregory said he has not heard of any dangerous situations that have arisen in New London during internet exchanges but the intent is to provide a community service nonetheless.
People using the exchange location should conduct their transactions on the sidewalk on the north side entryway of the police department, in front of any vehicles, in order to be visible on camera, Gregory said.
“Do it near the lights if it’s in the evening hours but of course we’d recommend it during the daylight hours,” Gregory said.
If anyone feels in danger, they can step inside the police station doors, which are always unlocked whether or not the front desk is staffed. A telephone is connected to the Waupaca County Sheriff’s Office.
Hortonville Police Department established its internet exchange location in early 2016.
Hortonville Village Administrator Diane Wessel said she has no means to estimate how much it has been utilized but has heard anecdotally that it is being used. She saw for herself one listing on Craigslist that identified the Hortonville Police Department as the person’s exchange location.
Wessel said the site serves as a proactive, low-cost crime prevention measure for Hortonville.