Every day people are performing voluntary transactions, many of which are setup over trade websites like Craigslist. There have been a few horror stories arising from these arranged transactions, mostly because one party didn’t demand the transaction occur in a public place, but a vast majority occur without incident. Thanks to the media and police the handful of bad incidents have been trumped up enough to make a lot of people unnecessarily afraid of such transactions. Now that it has helped create the problem Hennepin County is claiming to have the solution:
MINNEAPOLIS (KMSP) – Ever purchased or sold an item on Craigslist and wondered if the person on the other end could kill you? To combat online purchasing crime, Hennepin County unveiled “Swap Spots,” public safe havens where members of the community can go to make a variety of transactions.
Swap Spots are only available during normal hours of operation and designated by a blue and red logo. A deputy is not required to monitor each exchange, will not facilitate the transaction, and won’t keep a log of transactions, but if you would like a deputy present, the sheriff’s office said they’ll try to accommodate you.
What could make another otherwise peaceful transactions risky? Adding armed men with liability shield and an extensive history of violence into the mix! That’s what Hennepin County is offering with these “Swap Spots.” Instead of meeting in a public place, say a busy park or a restaurant, to perform a transaction people now have the option of performing the transaction under the gaze of police officers who are likely chomping at the bit to arrest somebody for violating some esoteric law, failing to pay a tax, or any number of other possible justifications they can fabricate on the spot.
If I were going through with an online transaction the last place I would do it at is one of these “Swap Spots.” Adding government in any capacity to the free market is always dangerous. I’d far prefer performing a transaction at a restaurant where you’re not only safe but also have access to food and drink (which is always nice when doing business).