BLACKFALDS – Blackfalds has designated a safe ‘Exchange Zone’ after community members brought the idea to the town’s peace officers and the Blackfalds Policing Committee.
Exchange zones provide a safe way for the public to exchange goods without the need to provide personal information or have strangers come to your home address.
“The need for a public location for exchanges to occur between people is something which has been brought forward in many communities as they grow,” said Ken Morrison, Emergency Management and Protective Services Manager. “It provides [buyers or sellers] a place to arrange an exchange without having people attending their home.”
Morrison said that the City of Edmonton implemented exchange zones in March of 2020 as there was an increase in online purchases, and consequently, crime in relation to those purchases.
“The previous year, Edmonton Protective Services had made 77 arrests and laid 218 charges relating to the face-to-face buying and selling of online items. Internet communities all over [Alberta] have adopted these initiatives in the hopes of keeping people reasonably safe when making in-person exchanges.”
The Blackfalds exchange zone consists of two designated parking stalls and is located in the parking lot in front of the Protective Services building at 4405 South Street.
RCMP Sgt. Brent Dueck said that the location was chosen because of its already established security measures in and around the building and is manned 24 hours a day.
“The Protective Services building was chosen as there are security cameras in place and outside lighting along with police officers and Fire Department personnel coming and going all hours of the day and night.”