The Riverside County Sheriff’s Department will begin offering the public parking lot of its Lake Elsinore station as a safe location for community members to conduct internet purchase transactions, it was announced Tuesday.

The station, located at 333 Limited Ave., will “provide an alternative to meeting a stranger at a private residence or unfamiliar location,” according to sheriff’s Lt. Aaron Kent, who said signage has been posted next to parking spaces designated for exchanges.

“Not every buyer or seller online is someone who is true with their intent,” Kent said. “There is a certain criminal element that capitalizes upon the inexperience of others. This type of criminal will typically agree to meeting in an area the criminal is familiar with. When the unsuspecting party arrives, the criminal will seize the item or take it by force.”

Kent said the sheriff’s department intends to prevent attacks and thefts by encouraging community members to use the station parking lot. The location is also available for families with shared custody to exchange their children, Kent said.

The new signage was donated by internet buyer-seller site OfferUp, which partners with law enforcement to reduce crime, he said.

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