Local

Catoosa and Tulsa Police remind public of safe exchange zones

CATOOSA, Okla. — The Catoosa Police Department and the Tulsa Police Departments are warning people to stay safe while shopping this Christmas.

Both departments are reminding people that they have safe exchange zones which can the public can use when buying and selling items.

Police in Catoosa said they set theirs up during the pandemic when more people started buying items on Facebook Marketplace.

Officers said this is a great option for both the buyer and seller, as it’s mutual ground for both.

Catoosa Street Sergeant Jennifer Swarer said it’s a great opportunity.

“It’s a great opportunity for those that want to know that it is a safe location to come and exchange items for the money,” she said.

Officers said lots of people buy presents off Facebook Marketplace, but that could open them up to being targeted by criminals.

“Facebook Marketplace became really a big thing, we’ve noticed that there’s been a lot of a crime associated with that, with people getting, you know, their homes were targeted later, and or people were paying for the product and not getting the product,” Swarer said.

The Catoosa Police Department’s safe exchange zone is in their parking lot. Officers said it’s a safe place not just because it’s the police department, but also because it has cameras that monitor 24 hours a day. There are also cameras on every corner of the building.

Swarer said anyone backing out of meeting at the department is a red flag.

“If you have set out to buy something off of Marketplace and you tell them that your going to meet at the police department, and that individual decides to start backing out of it, that’s obviously a good red flag for you to pay attention to, so it’s obviously not a good intention on the seller’s end,” she said.

The Tulsa Police Department has set up safe exchange places too.

“The three divisions are Riverside Division, Mingo Valley Division and Gilcrease Division. The Tulsa police department are concerned for you safety and we want to make sure that no one takes advantage of you,” said Captain Richard Meulenberg with the Tulsa Police Department.

The Catoosa safe exchange zone is also a place where child custody exchanges can take place.

Catoosa Police are also advising people to be vigilant as they go out and about shopping during the holidays. They advise you to be aware of your surroundings, keep an eye on your purse and don’t leave any presents, or anything of substantial value, in your car.

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