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DECATUR - In an effort to protect citizens who conduct business transactions online, the Decatur Police Department has created a "Craigslist and E-Commerce Trade Safe Zone."

Decatur police say the safe zone was created in response to concerns regarding buy and sell exchanges from Craigslist and other similar websites.  According to Decatur police, several crimes, such as armed robbery, theft, and murder, have occurred when individuals have met in person from these websites.

As a result, Decatur police say citizens taking part in similar online transactions are invited to meet at the Decatur Police Department, either in the building's lobby or under the canopy outside the building, from 8:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.  Authorities say it isn't recommended for citizens to conduct transactions outside of these hours, but may do so if the exchange would be convenient for both parties.

Decatur police say the department is an ideal place to meet to conduct online exchanges, as the building is manned 24 hours a day, with lighting and surveillance cameras.  Citizens will also be able to use the lobby's phone in case of emergencies.