Craigslist — the omnipresent digital billboard for questionably stained furniture, casual sex, and free DNA — doesn't have the best reputation. It has long made headlines for the part it plays in violent crimes, hoax sales, and theft, even producing a slew of "Craigslist killers."
Now, Philadelphia's Montgomery County plans to reduce those crimes by establishing what FOX 29 Philly calls "one of the nation's first Craigslist Transaction Safe Zones."
The Conshohocken police station has volunteered both its well-lit, heavily surveilled parking lot and its teddy-bear filled lobby to act as the headquarters of a battery- and theft-free transaction zone. The idea is that if you buy or sell something from Craigslist, you should meet up and hold the transaction at the police station, just in case the other party is planning any funny business.
The adorable Conshohocken police station lobby. (YouTube screenshot)
"It's a really good idea, especially now around the holidays, a lot of transactions on the Internet," Conshohocken Police Chief Michael Orler told reporter Dave Schratwieser. In line with pretty much every concerned mother, he recommends the space for anyone participating in a one-on-one transaction in which money is changing hands.
This proposal comes just two weeks after 34-year-old Philadelphian Dion Jordan met with a guy at a nearby Wawa convenience store to discuss the purchase of a Dodge Charger. During a second meeting at an airport hotel, police say, Jordan and an accomplice kidnapped the buyer, held him at gunpoint, and stole $2,000.
Got that? Wawas and airport hotels: both bad places for Craigslist transactions.
Aside from that incident, a recent report from Law Street says that — since the most notorious "Craigslist killer," Philip Markoff, was arrested in 2009 — there have been 45 murder victims and a whopping 58 accused or convicted murderers linked to the online bulletin site.
Now there's a specified space for those transactions in at least one county.