Provided by Prince William County Police
Prince William County Police is offering an “Exchange Zone” at the Western District Police Station in Manassas. This is for residents who want to meet each other and exchange items that have been bought or sold using online sites. It is also for residents who want a location to drop off or pick up children from the other parent. These spaces allow parking for 15 minutes and are located in the front parking lot of the police station on the right-hand side as you enter from Freedom Center Blvd. While we recommend that these transactions take place during daytime hours, the lot is well-lit if you need to meet after dark. The lot has video surveillance, however, it is not actively monitored at all times.
The idea of the Exchange Zone is to cut down on potential fraud and robberies or domestic altercations that can be associated with these types of exchanges. While this may not work for every online sales transaction or domestic exchange, the area is open to all county residents. The exchange zone is intended to give residents a safer environment for exchanges, but officers cannot stand by while the exchanges are being conducted. It is necessary for you to be very aware of potential safety concerns. You may still come inside the station and use the front lobby area to make exchanges if you are more comfortable doing so.
Here are a few safety tips to keep in mind when conducting such transactions:
- Only do transactions with local buyers/sellers
- Do not go to a transaction alone
- Make sure a friend or family member is aware of the transaction details
- Insist on meeting in a public area like our safe transaction zone
- Complete the transaction during daylight hours
- Be extra cautious when buying or selling valuable items such as vehicles and jewelry
- Only use cash or money orders to complete your transactions
- Trust your instincts, if it sounds like a scam it probably is
- If somebody is not willing to come to the police department to do an exchange it is probably not a legitimate transaction.
This is a pilot program, and if successful, will be implemented at our other police stations in Prince William County. For more information about the exchange zone location or internet safety, contact our Crime Prevention Unit by email to [email protected] or call 703-792-7270.