Fairfax County police set-up “safe zone” for online sales

Fairfax Police safe zone

Police across the country are reporting numerous robberies, assaults and thefts as people who want to buy or sell something through an online service like Craigslist meet-up and become unsuspecting crime victims.

To try to reduce those crimes, Fairfax County police have created a “safe zone” in the parking lot of the Sully Governmental Center in Chantilly.  The area, which is directly in front of the building, is monitored 24/7 by closed circuit video cameras.  As an increased deterrent, the center also houses the Sully District police station.

“Countywide, we have seen robberies that have stemmed from ads on sites like Craigslist,” says Tara Gerhard, Sully District’s crime prevention officer. “These events have also occurred in the Sully District over the last year. While we were developing the program, several robberies happened across the county, which then gave us the backing to prove this program is necessary to preserve the safety of Fairfax County residents.”

If an issue arises in the parking lot that requires law enforcement attention, Gerhard says there are two ways you can contact police.

“People are welcome to request an officer through the front desk of the Sully District Police Station,” Gerhard says. “If you don’t wish to come inside, you can call the non-emergency number, 703-691-2131, which is on the exchange zone sign. If there is a true emergency, the individual may dial 9-1-1 or come inside the station.”

This is a pilot program which is expected to last several months.  Police say after an assessment period the program will likely expand to other police station parking lots.

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Ed Tobias
Ed Tobias brings more than four decades of reporting and news management experience to his work at FairfaxNews. Tobias managed news coverage for Associated Press Radio for over twenty years.  This included coverage of the 9/11 attacks, the Iraq War, Hurricane Katrina, the death of Princess Diana, the Challenger and Columbia shuttle disasters and national election primaries, conventions and campaigns.  He was part of the team that built AP’s on-line video operation. Prior to joining AP, Tobias was News Director at all-news WTOP in Washington, D.C. He has won two Ohio State Awards for his reporting and producing and he led coverage that won an Edward R. Murrow Award.