Police push ‘safe exchange zones’ after armed robbery

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GATES, N.Y. (WHEC) — The Gates Police Department is urging the community to use "safe exchange zones" after a meet and greet sale turned violent over Christmas weekend.

The department says it’s still searching for the person who drew a gun instead of cash for a play station that was bargained over the internet. Two complete strangers used Facebook Marketplace to strike a deal for cash in exchange for a PlayStation console.

"The transaction was going down, and our suspect pulled out a handgun, threatened our victim, ended up stealing the money and the play station that was involved,” Lt. Robert Long said.

The exchange was done in a parking lot, which you would think is safe because of so many people around.

"But it’s also bad because in some parking lots you can be in secluded areas,” Long said.

Those areas don’t usually have cameras, but safe exchange zones do. Gates has one in the parking lot of the town hall and police department.

The Brockport Police Department created one of these zones recently. It has cameras pointed at different angles around the parking lot and the designated space.

"Cameras definitely help out, they can deter a lot of things. Say something went wrong, you would have evidence that could help. We also recommend when people do custody exchanges, to do them there because it’s a neutral spot and it’s on camera,” Long added.

The victim in the Gates robbery was not hurt, and police do not have any leads on a suspect right now. There are other safe exchange zones in Webster, Geneseo, and Irondequoit.