Can't decide whether that seller on eBay or Craigslist is forthright or fishy?

Can't decide whether that seller on eBay or Craigslist is forthright or fishy?

The Delaware County Sheriff's Office has a solution.

A few weeks ago, workers installed signs dedicating two parking spots at the county jail as an "exchange safe zone" for residents.

Sheriff's office spokeswoman Tracy Whited said the spots, which will be under 24-hour video surveillance, give residents a chance to exchange goods or custody of children in a safe place.

Whited said she and her colleagues got the idea for the spaces when they saw a custody exchange take place near the sheriff's administrative offices on North Sandusky Street in Delaware. After conducting some online research, she discovered it has become a common practice for police agencies to provide secure spaces for transactions.

"I was blown away at how many law-enforcement agencies ... across the U.S. already had these in place," she said.

Sheriff's officials decided the best place for the safe zone would be the parking lot at the Delaware County jail, 844 U.S. Route 42 N. in Delaware. Whited said the spaces are well-lit and within walking distance of the jail lobby, which is open 24 hours a day.

Whited said the installation of the new signs was not spurred by any particular crime or incident.

Delaware police Capt. Adam Moore said his department does not have a space reserved for residents making transactions, but added the North Union Street building has been used informally for those purposes for years.

"We routinely have folks use our parking lot and our lobby for civil exchanges," he said.

Moore said no plans are in the works to dedicate a space at the building for custody or property exchanges.

Powell spokeswoman Megan Canavan said the city installed signs marking two "public exchange spots" late last week in front of the city's police station, 47 Hall St. The spots will be under video surveillance, and police officers can be contacted via intercom at the front of the station from 5 p.m. to 8 a.m.

Canavan said Powell officials came up with the idea for its safe space independently from the similar initiative at the sheriff's office. She said the popularity of resale websites and social-media pages in the community spurred city staff to take action.

"With the rise of these sites, we wanted to provide the public a safe space to do these exchanges," she said.

The spots adjacent to the city's Municipal Building will have a 30-minute posted time limit.

Canavan said she hopes the signs will remind visitors to the site to take precautions when buying or selling goods online.

Moore said above all, residents should employ common sense when shopping online.

"If the deal seems too good to be true, there's probably a reason behind that," he said.

Whited said she recommends making exchanges during the day with others present, if possible.