Police open department lobbies for online transactions

Jackson County residents buying, selling or trading items online can now use the lobbies of two police stations to complete those transactions.

Instead of meeting at an unknown person’s home or vehicle, Sheriff Mike Carothers and Seymour Police Chief Bill Abbott announced Monday they will offer the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department in Brownstown and the Seymour Police Department as safer environments for those exchanges to take place.

“This is a location where it will be monitored, and there’s video of everything,” Carothers said. “We won’t be completely aware of what the transaction is, but at least there will be a set of eyes watching.”

Carothers and Abbott both said the decision to offer these safe zones was made in light of several incidents nationwide involving people being robbed, attacked or even murdered while going to unsecure locations to purchase items off websites like Craigslist.

They hope by offering a safe and secure location, anyone with criminal activities on their mind will think twice about following through with those plans.

“Since it’s a police department, they will be less likely to show up,” Abbott said.

Both lobbies are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and people wanting to use the facilities do not need to make an appointment — just show up and make the exchange.

Abbott said a person will have to be buzzed in to get inside the Seymour police station lobby, while the sheriff’s department’s front doors are always unlocked.

“They can come any time. The staff may offer to help them through the call box and just tell them why you’re meeting,” Carothers said. “We won’t bother them but may watch and observe.”

Jackson County and Seymour aren’t the only police stations offering safe zones. Police departments across the U.S. have decided to open their doors for these types of transactions to increase safety.

Earlier this month, Zionsville and Whitestown police departments, both in Boone County, decided to offer it, The Associated Press reported.

At a glance

Seymour Police Department is located at 205 N. Ewing St., Seymour.

Jackson County Sheriff’s Department is located at 150 E. State Road 250, Brownstown.