On November 16, 2023, Alberta RCMP’s Eastern Alberta District will implement a safe exchange zone program in 22 out of the 27 detachments.
This initiative supplements the existing five detachments, including the Bonnyville Detachment, which has already established a safe exchange zone.
With the increasing use of new technologies for sales, purchases, and carious exchanges, residents in Alberta often connect with each other online. While many transactions occur without issue, safety risks associated with online meetings prompted the RCMP to introduce designated safe exchange zones.
The safety concerns extend beyond online transactions, encompassing interactions such as child custody exchanges and document transfers. To address these concerns, detachments with the capacity to accommodate safe exchange zones are taking steps to implement them.
Outside Eastern Alberta District Detachments, they will clearly mark the safe exchange zones, either as parking stalls or designated areas. Importantly residents do not need to contact the detachment in advance to use these sites. Instead, they can inform the person they are meeting that they would like to conduct the exchange at the safe exchange zone outside the specified detachment.
S/Sgt. Sarah Parke of Bonnyville RCMP Detachment emphasizes the significance of these safe exchange zones stating, “These safe exchange zones will provide a safer place for citizens to meet while conducting sales, purchases, and exchanges, including custody and visitation arrangments.”
The Safe Exchange Zone at Bonnyville Detachment is in the West parking lot.
It’s important to note that although the exchange zones are not continuously monitored by the detachment or surveillance cameras, detachment officers are available to assist in case of emergencies. Any criminal activity identified within these zones is subject to enforcement action.
The Alberta RCMP’s move to establish safe exchange zones reflects a proactive approach to community safety in the face of evolving technologies and the diverse interactions occurring in the digital age.