A local resident brought up the idea of implementing “safe zones” used for classified ad sales exchanges and other uses in Garden City Tuesday night during a sparsely attended City Commission town hall meeting.
Eric Ramirez, 30, shared his idea to the commission because he’s seen other communities implement "safe zones" that could be used for an assortment of reasons.
Ramirez described a safe zone as a designated area at or near a public place that is well-lit and has surveillance cameras. It could be used for online or social media classified ad sales exchanges or for exchanging children during custody situations, among other things.
The ideal location for a safe zone would be near an area with a lot of traffic, Ramirez said.
“It’s a safe place that’s under surveillance nearly 24/7,” he said, noting that these safe zones are typically in partnership with local law enforcement. “Sometimes you see them at gas stations, they partner up with that gas station and they have a camera in that spot that is designated by a sign. Sometimes it’s located outside the law enforcement center, and they designate an area with two parking spots a safe zone.”
WMBF News out of Myrtle Beach, N.C., reported last week that according to information from the Florida-based Advanced Interactive Media Group, an industry analyst, approximately 122 murders have been linked to Craigslist since 2007. Craiglist is a classified ad sales website. The Myrtle Beach Police Department began providing safe zones throughout Myrtle Beach and recently designated a safe zone in its parking lot.
Following Tuesday’s meeting, Ramirez said he’s seen several communities implement safe zones.
“It’s something our community is lacking,” he said after Tuesday’s meeting. “And in today’s day and age, there is more violence, people carrying more weapons, etc. If you are selling something to someone, you don’t want to have to meet them at your house because if for some reason that sale went bad, they now know where you live. You don’t want something like that happening.”
When people see there’s a designated area that says "safe zone" with surveillance, they would feel more secure and safe, Ramirez said.
“There’s been times that I sell things through Facebook and there’s pages where you can sell stuff, and you’re always thinking, ‘Where can I go where it’s safe?’” Ramirez said following Tuesday’s meeting.
Mayor Roy Cessna said during Tuesday’s meeting that the city could look into the idea of implementing safe zones.
Contact Josh Harbour at firstname.lastname@example.org.