SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) — Rozanna Zane is a mom, small business owner and a resident of Rancho Penasquitos.
She often buys and sells goods online - sometimes making her feel a bit uneasy.
"A lot of times I had my kids with me ," said Zane. "Then later in the evening I'll think 'this probably wasn't the smartest thing or maybe I should have had someone with me.'"
On Wednesday, Zane became the first person to take part in an exchange in front of the Northeastern Division's Designated Online Transaction Space or DOTS.
It's a safe place located on Salmon River Road - complete with signs, lights and cameras - where people who are selling and/or buying goods from one another can meet in person.
"Pretty much low cost---not a lot of work went into having this done," said City Councilmember Chris Cate who initiated the pilot program saying it's a sign of the times.
"It's [been] a topic of discussion for a while and there's all these new platforms - NextDoor, Facebook Marketplace - and we're actually seeing these pop up across the country and hearing positive feedback," Cate said.
San Diego Police are not reporting a specific rise in crimes related to online sales, but it is something they know all about.
In 2011, for example, 18-year-old Garrett Berki of Mission Beach was robbed and killed by three men after he answered a bogus Craigslist ad and went to purchase a laptop in Paradise Hills.
"Criminals are always looking to exploit any new technology any place where there's vulnerability," said San Diego Police Captain Charles Lara.
To use DOTS, no appointment is needed, you just show up.
If the Northeastern Division's particular location is not in your area, law enforcement advises meeting someone during the day in a public place - or in front of any one of the city's sub stations.
And if you're feeling at all unsure - think twice before you go.
"Definitely if we're in North County, this is where we'll meet," said Zane.
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