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City eyeing safe zone for online buyers
Site would provide secure location for transactions
new deh city council safe zone pic web
The sign pictured is an example of one posted at a safe zone for internet purchase transactions. - photo by COURTESY PHOTO

 Thousands of area residents buy, sell and trade items via internet sites, and a Great Bend woman believes having a designated spot for these transactions would be a good idea. Now, the City Council is taking this idea under advisement.

The council Monday night heard a request for implementing a safe zone to exchange buy-sell-trade site purchases from Nichelle Holinde. She said she has contacted Police Chief David Bailey and he is supportive of the proposal.

“The people we meet online are strangers,” she said. “We need a safe place to meet.”

She is the administrator on one of the local buy-sell-trade internet sites with nearly 23,000 members in and around Great Bend. “There are a lot of transactions that happen in one day,” she said. 

“I believe it would be a great benefit to our city,” Holinde said, adding she has seen this in other communities, including Larned and Ellsworth. “I think it would be a great idea to have a designated meeting spot.”  

The Great Bend site would involve two parking spots across the street north of the Police Department with signs dedicating these spots for this use. There are already security cameras there monitoring the location.

She provided photos of examples she found online to give officials an idea of what she was talking about.

“It wouldn’t be a big cost to make this happen,” she said. 

“In my opinion, it would stop a lot of crime and rip-offs,” she said. “If someone wants to buy something and the seller refuses to meet at the police department in the designated spot, that’s a big red flag.”

And, if someone is selling a stolen item or planning on robbing the buyer/seller, they more than likely won’t meet there.

“I personally don’t like giving someone my address when they want to buy something so I am always meeting people in random spots and I know there are a lot of others around like me.”

“I, myself, think this might be something good,” Mayor Joe Andrasek said. “There are a lot of online transactions.”

Since the parking spots and the cameras already exist, the only expense would be the signs, which would be around $100. There are no liability issues for the city, either.

All on the council seemed amenable to the concept. Interim City Administrator George Kolb said his office can probably make this happen without the council having to vote on the matter.