New Bedford residents now have a dedicated safe location while conducting in-person transactions on websites such as Craigslist and Facebook.

The City Council announced Thursday evening that the New Bedford Police Department Headquarters on Rockdale Avenue is now a designated "safe zone" for online transactions.

The announcement comes months after Ward 5 Councilor Kerry Winterson filed a motion seeking to designate these types of areas for residents after a string of assaults linked to false online listings.

"The key is this: if you want to do a transaction and one of the parties doesn't want to meet you at that location, that's the red flag," said Winterson. "That's indicating that there's a problem."

To use the "safe zone," parties simply have to speak with the desk sergeant on duty and inform them they are there for an online transaction. The parties will them conduct their business in the parking lot and be on their way.

In recent months, numerous police departments across the country have implemented these types of transaction areas, including Dartmouth Police.

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