The Elgin Police Department is inviting the community to conduct Craigslist-related transactions in its lobby, open 24 hours a day.
Deputy Chief Bill Wolf said police won't get involved in transactions, but having them take place there will help ensure the safety of buyers and sellers.
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From Craigslist's personal safety pageThe overwhelming majority of craigslist users are trustworthy and well-intentioned.
With billions of human interactions facilitated, the incidence of violent crime is extremely low.
Nevertheless, please take the same common sense precautions online as you would offline.
When meeting someone for the first time, please remember to:
Insist on a public meeting place like a cafe.
Do not meet in a secluded place, or invite strangers into your home.
Be especially careful when buying/selling high value items.
Tell a friend or family member where you're going.
Take your cell phone along if you have one.
Consider having a friend accompany you.
Trust your instincts.
The idea came after reading a news story about another police department in Illinois doing so, Wolf said. "I imagine there are other departments across the country that do it, too," he said.
Elgin police have investigated at least four reports of Craigslist-related crime since January, police Cmdr. Ana Lalley said.
Three were Craigslist ads that turned out to be deceptive practices, such as people asking others to deposit large checks in exchange for cash, Lalley said.
One was a burglary committed a few days after the homeowner posted an ad on Craigslist asking for help with maintenance work, she said.
"It's just a way to let the community know that we're available to help them," she said. "Some people already know it's available, but it's a good way to remind people so they feel safer."
The police department invited people to do Craigslist transactions in its lobby, at 151 Douglas Ave. via its Facebook page on Tuesday. The post got 940 "likes" and more than 37,000 "shares," Wolf said.
The lobby also is commonly used by residents for child custody transfers, police Cmdr. Dan O'Shea said.