As the holiday season approaches, many Vanderbilt students, faculty and workers turn to buying and selling platforms such as eBay, Craigslist and Letgo to obtain what they need. If the exchange of goods is in person, the Vanderbilt University Police Department wants to provide a location where the transaction will be a safe one.
The E-Commerce Safe Zone is located at the VUPD Headquarters building, located at 2800 Vanderbilt Place, to give all Vanderbilt affiliates a safe area to exchange their goods. The exchange can be with another Vanderbilt person, or with a member of the Nashville community. The area, marked in the parking lot of the VUPD building as “exchange area” is monitored 24/7 with cameras equipped with audio sensors, and is lit during night hours.
“We have seen several of these [safe zones] pop up not only around the country but in the middle Tennessee area,” Assistant Police Chief Rick Burr said. “So, as we were reassessing safety and security here on campus, we thought it would be a great idea for our community to have.”
The service will be available year-round, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. All legal goods are permitted to be exchanged, with the exception of firearms, which are not permitted on university property.
Burr also encourages all potential exchangers to visit the VUPD website to obtain more information, and to register their exchange beforehand. The mandatory registration form online documents minimal personal information, as well as the items being sold and the time and date the transaction will occur. There is also a sign-in log in the lobby of the police department building that both sides sign when they arrive on site.
“We will not do anything with the information that is on record for the transaction; we are not actively participating in the actual transactions,” Burr said. “Our hope is that when our Vanderbilt affiliates talk to a buyer or seller and let them know that they want to meet at Vanderbilt University Police Department, that if there is any intent to victimize anybody, that obviously, they won’t show up, which is what the goal is.”
Ultimately, the goal if the site is to provide students, faculty and staff with a safe place to carry out transactions. Burr did not rule out the possibility of adding more safe exchange sites in the future, depending on how frequently the VUPD site is utilized.
“The purpose is to ensure the safety of the Vanderbilt community residents,” Burr said.