Here’s what a handshake symbol on a parking space means

In Pembroke, Ontario, designated parking spots now sport a fresh emblem. Marked with a handshake symbol, these spots outside the Pembroke OPP station on 77 International Dr. are earmarked as community safety zones for conducting online transactions.

When making purchases online and arranging in-person meetings for payment or item pick-up, these locations offer a secure environment for all parties involved, as per the Upper Ottawa Valley OPP.

Under the banner of “Project Safe Trade,” the aim is to establish a “community safety zone” within the OPP detachment parking lot, facilitating online property transactions and shifting them from private areas to public spaces.

No appointments are necessary; these secure trading zones remain open at all times. As the busy holiday season approaches, the local launch of Project Safe Trade couldn’t be timelier. Steph Neufeld, commander of the Upper Ottawa Valley OPP detachment, emphasizes the growing trend of online property transactions and highlights the initiative’s role in reducing related offenses.

Const. Mike Mahon underscores the added layer of protection these areas offer, particularly in preventing potential fraud victimization. He advises caution if transactions seem too good to be true, urging vigilance when meeting individuals who express hesitancy.

While police won’t act as witnesses or mediators in transactions, they will intervene if criminal activity is suspected. For those opting out of using these designated spots, alternative safety measures are recommended, such as meeting in busy public spaces, bringing a trusted companion, and conducting transactions during daylight hours.

Carmi Levy, a technology analyst, stresses the importance of research and verification before completing transactions. Insisting on inspecting the item and ensuring it functions properly before payment is crucial to avoiding scams during the bustling holiday season.

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