Hurst police have created an exchange zone where people can have a secure place to go for child custody exchanges or for online buying and selling transactions.
Hurst joins other cities throughout North Texas, including Fort Worth, Arlington, Haltom City, Euless and Bedford, that have the exchange zones, which are usually located in police station parking lots where there are surveillance cameras to monitor the exchanges and officers are nearby if there are any problems.
“We are committed to providing any service to our customers which helps keep them safer,” said Assistant Police Chief Steve Niekamp.
Niekamp added that online sales sites where people buy and sell everything from cars to furniture such as Craigslist and OfferUp are becoming more popular.
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Euless and Bedford started their exchange zones two years ago, and they are popular places for internet transactions and custody exchanges.
Bedford formed a partnership with the site offerup.com, which lists safety zones nationwide.
“We’ve seen tremendous success,” Bedford Police Chief Jeff Gibson said.
Gibson said he doesn’t have statistics on how many are using the exchange zone but he has seen people waiting in line.
Euless has found the safe zones to be a valuable tool, Senior Cpl. Rocky Fimbres said.
“People obviously find comfort in being at a police department. We are open 24 hours. If anything happens, we can respond effectively and quickly. Most bad people don’t want to come to a police department,” he said.
Fimbres said other departments including Dallas have asked about creating an exchange zone. “When we start getting contacted by other police departments, this tells me that it’s working.”