5miles Adds Safe Zone Finder for Transactions

Some cities have designated areas, often at police stations, where people can meet to complete their deals.



The Dallas-based 5miles app will launch an update soon that will make it the only online marketplace to map out designated zones where people can meet to complete transactions.

The Safe Exchange Area Locator feature will be added to the messenger feature within the app, making it easy for users to find a police station or other designated trade spot.

“Adding a safe exchange area locator to our in-app messaging systems means that not only will online conversations be kept private, but buyers and sellers also now can have greater peace of mind knowing that offline transactions can be made at a convenient safe trading spot of their choice,” 5miles founder and CEO Lucas Lu said.

Dennis Dalton, strategic planner with 5miles and the brains behind the feature, said the Android version is ready to go. The iOS version still has bugs to be worked out, but it should be ready by July 8.  


Several North Texas cities have set up these zones to make transactions safer for people who sell items on Craigslist, 5miles, Facebook groups or other online marketplaces. 

Irving set aside two parking spots at its main police headquarters near downtown a few months ago. Officer James McLellan said it’s the ideal spot for doing transactions from online marketplaces such as Craiglist or 5miles. It’s also a good spot for child custody exchanges.

If someone isn’t willing to meet at the police department, that’s usually not a good sign.

“It’s a deterrent for anyone who would commit a crime by using these online marketplaces.”

Irving Officer James McLellan

“It’s a deterrent for anyone who would commit a crime by using these online marketplaces,” he said. “This is exactly what we had in mind when we established that.”

In Plano, the police set aside a designated area in the lobby of its main police station on 14th Street and the substation on Independence.

Public Information Officer David Tilley said they stop short of calling it a safe zone because anything can happen, even inside a police station.

“It is a safer alternative for people who want to conduct these transactions,” Tilley said. “They won’t be taking that risk that they could see a police officer. Bring a friend, too.”

Dallas doesn’t have any designated zones, yet.

“Our goal is to get enough buzz about this to get big cities like Dallas to implement this at all their different substations,” Dalton said.

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