Be safe while using Craigslist

A local shooting is another incident of violence resulting from a transaction gone wrong.

by Keelia Moeller

Craigslist is a website used for anything from selling cars to looking for roommates. While the site’s do-it-all nature is undeniably useful, the safety risks involved with using it are bigger than we might think.
As it stands, it’s extremely hard to hold Craigslist liable for transactions gone wrong. But meeting with an online stranger is a risk in itself. Assuming Craigslist is not going to introduce more safety measures, we need to think about which precautions we should take when using the site. 
Crimes linked to Craigslist are troublingly common. For example, a study done by the AIM Group linked Craigslist to 330 crimes, 12 murders and 105 robberies in 2010 alone. 
More recently, there was a shooting in a Walmart parking lot over a Craigslist cell phone sale on Tuesday in Shakopee, Minn.
The buyer took the cell phone, neglected to pay and then pulled a revolver on the seller, who took cover, pulled out his own gun and fired at the other man.
The Shakopee Police Department, after responding to the crime, came up with the idea to invite people to sell or buy things in the police department’s lobby or parking lot rather than in unsupervised locations. 
Doing business at, in or near police headquarters would be an efficient way to lower the risk of Craigslist transactions. But it’s also important to bring someone along with you when meeting up with a Craigslist seller or buyer.
It might be easy to blame Craigslist for not having enough safety regulations, but the most dangerous kinds of people will continue to exploit the site. It’s up to us to protect ourselves from danger.
Keelia Moeller welcomes comments at [email protected].