TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senate Law & Public Safety Chair Linda R. Greenstein that would allow county and municipal police departments to establish designated safe areas for Internet sales transactions cleared the Senate committee today.
“Individuals have been mugged, robbed or even shot in public places exchanging cash for goods purchased through online marketplaces or classified sites like Craigslist,” said Senator Greenstein (D-Middlesex, Mercer). “While a number of police departments in New Jersey have already taken the initiative to designate safe trading areas at their stations, this bill is intended to encourage more to do so in an effort to enhance public safety and reduce crimes that are committed during the trade.”
The bill, S-2408, would allow police departments to install a video camera that could record a clear image of the designated safe area at all times the area is made available to the public for the purpose of ensuring public safety. Local police departments and their members would not be responsible for regulating the sales transactions or civilly liable for crimes or offenses committed by participants to the sales transactions.
Under the bill, the Attorney General would be required to notify chief law enforcement officers that they are permitted to establish a designated safe area on municipal and county police department property. The Attorney General would also be required to conduct a public awareness campaign to inform the general public about designated safe areas established throughout the State. The public awareness campaign would include an updated list of police departments that have established designated safe areas and safety tips to decrease the risk of crime when engaging in Internet sales transactions.
The bill was approved by the Senate Law and Public Safety Committee with a vote of 3-0, and now heads to the full Senate for consideration.