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Safe spaces pop up to protect online buyers

Aping Vision / STS | Photodisc | Getty Images

After years of high-profile crimes plagued online marketplaces, local police are trying to create safer places to exchange purchases.

Farmville, North Carolina is the latest city to establish an "Internet purchase exchange location" where buyers and sellers can meet if they feel uncomfortable giving out their home address, according to the police department's social media page. In Farmville, it's in a monitored police parking lot, according to a Facebook post.

Farmville's not the first town to designate such a space, with towns in Florida, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts launching similar initiatives in the past two years.

Though goods posted by neighbors on Craigslist and Facebook can be convenient and cheap, safety can sometimes be a factor, as the Farmville police point out. Craigslist users have allegedly been victims of tragic crimes like Satanist serial killers and gory stabbings in recent years, according to NBC News.

Still, that hasn't done much to stem the popularity of buying online. Craigslist has about 80 million classified ads each month, according to the company website. And Facebook announced earlier this month an initiative to improve selling within Facebook groups through the addition of "sell" buttons with built-in prices and delivery information.

Craigslist, for one, offers users safety tips like insisting on meeting in a busy public place, bringing a friend, and having your cell phone handy when buying online.