People buying and selling items online will be able to use specific Columbus Division of Police substations as safe places for making exchanges.

Cathy L. Collins, an assistant director of the Columbus Public Safety Department, said in an announcement the station designations are in response to concerns from online buyers and sellers about personal safety during face-to-face exchanges.

She said the city has created five monitored "Internet Purchase Exchange Zones" throughout the city.

Those substations are:

* Station 1, 4560 Karl Road in the Northland area

* Station 3, 5400 Olentangy River Road in northwest Columbus

* Station 5, 1371 Cleveland Ave. in northeast Columbus

* Station 10, 4215 Clime Road in west Columbus

* Station 20, 2500 Park Crescent Drive, in east Columbus near Brice Road and Interstate 70.

People can conduct their transactions at any of the five locations knowing that the exchange is being recorded with a city-owned video-surveillance camera, Collins said.

In addition, because the locations involve a police substation, police vehicles and officers could be expected to be on location at any time, she said.

Each location will be signed with a placard within view of the surveillance camera.

Users are encouraged to conduct their transaction near the sign for "maximum coverage."

When arranging a meeting with a person via the internet, "situational awareness is very important to safety," Columbus police Deputy Chief Thomas Quinlan said in the press release.

Police officials said a substation monitored with city cameras is a much safer situation than agreeing to meet a stranger at a location the other person selects.

kparks@thisweeknews.com

@KevinParksTW1