SOUTH LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- The Los Angeles Police Department's South Bureau recorded 45 street robberies, including one deadly, last year that were all tied to e-commerce exchanges.
Now the department is setting up safe exchange zones inside the lobbies of nine police stations and nearly a dozen Ralphs grocery stores for buyers and sellers to feel more secure in their transactions.
Police also have paired with the online company OfferUp, a mobile marketplace known for its safeguards for those buying and selling.
In recent years, police in Los Angeles and around the country have seen a trend of crimes associated with strangers meeting in person to complete transactions that were initiated online. Sometimes those encounters end with an assault and a robbery. In some cases, they have ended with one individual dead.
"I think a lot of our victims are coming from outside of Los Angeles and are very unfamiliar with our streets and our neighborhoods and are coming into places that they don't know might be a potential for crime," said LAPD Deputy Chief Dennis Kato.
Buyers and sellers should look for the "Exchange Zone" signs, which also note the areas can be used for child custody transfers. The lobbies and zones are available 24-7.
LAPD sets up safe exchange zones for online buyers, sellers