- Associated Press - Monday, August 17, 2015

VANCOUVER, Wash. (AP) - Five police parking lots in Vancouver and Clark County are now available as safe places where people making online purchases can meet potential buyers or sellers.

The Vancouver Police Department says it has designated three parking lots as “safe exchange zones” so people have an alternative to meeting strangers at their homes or in unfamiliar locations.

Clark County Sheriff Chuck Atkins says they’re trying to reduce risks that can come with such online transactions.

Vancouver Police Chief James McElvain says the zones seemed a natural extension of the department’s crime prevention efforts.

The two agencies say their staff won’t assist with transactions. Gun sales won’t be allowed, and people will not be allowed to drop off items unattended.

The lots are in Vancouver, Ridgefield and Brush Prairie.

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