Senator Bateman’s bill (S-2408) allows local police to establish designated safe areas where people can meet in order to complete sales transactions for items listed on websites, such as Craigslist. Senator Bateman’s bill would be the first New Jersey law directly addressing “Safe Exchange Zones.”
To further ensure public safety, the bill would also authorize municipal and county police departments to install a video camera for recording the safe zone whenever it is available for public use.
S-2408 requires the Attorney General to establish a public awareness campaign with an updated list of police departments that have established designated safe areas, as well as safety tips for decreasing the risk of crime when engaging in internet sales transactions.
Designating safe zones would be voluntary, and local police departments would not be responsible for regulating the sales transactions, nor would they be civilly liable for crimes or offenses committed by participants to the sales transactions.
A number of safe zones have already been established by law enforcement in communities Statewide, including Princeton, South Brunswick, East Brunswick, Woodland Park, Robbinsville, Hillsdale, Chester Borough, Waretown, Paulsboro, and Cherry Hill.
“Recently, a New Jersey man had to escape through a window in his own home after a Craigslist buyer held him up at gunpoint,” Senator Bateman said. “We don’t need to ban e-commerce sites to prevent such a tragedy. Buyers and sellers should be able to use these websites safely. The least we can do is provide a public space where these transactions can be completed without turning violent.”