During the holiday season, online person-to-person sales are an easy way for sellers to make holiday cash and buyers to score a deal, but meeting a stranger to complete the transaction can put both parties in a dangerous situation. The Lafayette Consolidated Government Safe Exchange location at the Lafayette Police Department is a safe place to carry out exchanges.
District 3 City Councilwoman Liz Hebert spearheaded the effort, and since opening the location in 2016, has received tremendous feedback from citizens. "The Safe Exchange location has given people a sense of security and comfort when meeting to exchange a product, and it deters crime, decreasing the likelihood of becoming a victim of a scam, robbery or assault," she said.
According to Lafayette Police Department Public Information Officer Wayne Griffin, crime increases during the holidays. "This time of year, we usually see an uptick in calls to report stealing, robbing and shoplifting. The public can feel safe knowing exchanges are monitored by a police officer, making citizens less vulnerable to crime," he said.
The site is secured with cameras, capturing the transaction and vehicles, and is located in the parking lot across the street from the Police Department. Upon arrival, citizens should call the number on the sign, and an officer will monitor the transaction using a live video feed.
Mayor-President Josh Guillory added, "I encourage our citizens to use the Safe Exchange location year-round, but especially during the holidays, when unfortunately criminals take advantage of others. We want our citizens to feel secure knowing the site minimizes the risk of danger,"
The location is also used for court-appointed and non-court ordered child custody exchanges, offering a neutral and less stressful spot to transfer belongings and hand off children to the other parent without having to walk inside the department.
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