Internet Exchange Zone Created in Sea Isle City

Posted on Thursday, April 25th

Two parking spaces in front of City Hall now have green stripes and a sign that says “Internet Exchange Zone.”

The area is intended as a secure place allowing Sea Isle City residents and visitors to safely exchange items bought online.

The exchange zone can also be used for conducting internet business with strangers or for other person-to-person transactions, such as child custody exchanges, Sea Isle officials said.

“Not everyone wants to go to an ex-spouse’s home,” city spokeswoman Katherine Custer explained of child custody exchanges.

At the exchange zone, people meet in a well-lighted area directly in front of City Hall that is constantly under surveillance by police cameras.

Sea Isle Police Chief Tom McQuillen noted that the area “provides a level of comfort” that people might not have if they met elsewhere for internet exchanges.

“There’s always a level of caution if you don’t know the other person,” McQuillen said. “But this allows us to do a transaction in an environment that provides a level of comfort to both the seller and buyer.”

McQuillen credited the police department’s Detective Sgt. Bill Bradshaw with coming up with the idea for an exchange zone in Sea Isle. Bradshaw then worked with Lt. Bill Mammele and the city’s traffic maintenance supervisor, Brian Teefy, to complete the project.

Located along the curb, the two parking spaces that make up the exchange zone are easy to identify, thanks to their bright green stripes and signage. There is no fee to use the exchange zone.

Sea Isle becomes the latest New Jersey municipality to designate a specific area as an internet exchange zone for the public. With internet purchases through Craigslist and other online outlets becoming more popular, the idea is to provide safe areas where strangers may exchange goods and money.

“This is an area where people can exchange things in a safe setting,” Sea Isle Mayor Leonard Desiderio said. “There are cameras here, and it is right in front of the police station in City Hall.”

Sea Isle said in a press release Wednesday announcing the exchange zone that is important to remember that strangers who show up for online transactions may be dangerous. When making arrangements to complete online transactions face-to-face, residents are reminded to:

·       Complete all transactions during daylight hours, if possible.

·       Bring a cell phone in case of emergency.

·       Notify friends or family about the details of the exchange beforehand.

·       Never invite strangers into your vehicle or home – or enter a stranger’s car or agree to meet at a stranger’s home.

·       Reconsider any transaction with an individual who refuses to meet at a designated “Exchange Zone.”

·       In the event of any emergency, dial 911.

The Sea Isle Police Department will not verify or facilitate private transactions that are conducted within the exchange zone, the city said. Any complaints regarding transactions occurring in the exchange zone should follow normal criminal or civil procedures.

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