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Here’s why there is a handshake symbol outside three Ottawa police stations

A handshake symbol is now located on parking spaces at police stations in Ottawa, designed to provide a safe place to complete online transactions.

The Ottawa Police Service launched Project Safe Trade on Friday, with parking spots at three police stations designated to support safety when completing trades stemming from online marketplaces and websites.

The Safe Trade parking spots are clearly marked with a blue logo with a handshake and signage. The parking spaces are intended to provide a safe space for someone buying or selling something online to meet someone in person to complete the transaction.

“Creating Safe Trade parking spaces at OPS stations is about moving transactions away from secluded parking lots or private residences and bringing them into public places,” police said in a statement.

The Safe Trade locations are at:

  • 466 Metcalfe St. (visitors’ parking lot behind 474 Elgin St. police station) 
  • 211 Huntmar Dr. (Kanata police station) 
  • 3343 St-Joseph Blvd. (Orleans police station) 

Chief Eric Stubbs said the Ottawa Police Robbery Unit noticed a spike in robberies involving online sale transactions.

“We do have cameras that will be focused on these areas. While police won’t be present for the actual exchanges, we will be nearby. It’s that extra layer of safety we hope to add to these exchanges,” Stubbs said.

Council approved a motion from Coun. Catherine Kitts last December to ask police to set up exchange areas outside stations.

“These safe and neutral spaces are intended to prevent fraudulent transactions and increase resident safety that may occur in the context of purchases or exchanges from online sales,” Kitts said in her motion.

Upper Ottawa Valley OPP set up an exchange area outside the Pembroke OPP detachment last fall. 

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