SEATTLE -- There are plenty of horror stories about what can go wrong when people buy or sell with strangers from Craigslist or a similar site. Whether a person is buying or selling, they should try to meet in a public place to make the swap.

"I always meet people at a Starbucks or a public place," Craigslist buyer Leah Pastrana said. "I never go to someone's house."

But even a coffee shop or mall food court isn't as safe as the lobby of a police station. It's government property and in most cases is open 24 hours a day.

"There are times when ripoffs occur and people want to make sure that they're doing everything properly and safely," said Seattle Police Sgt. Sean Whitcomb.

That's why the Seattle Police Department offers its precinct lobbies as a safe place to exchange cash or valuables with a stranger.

"We're happy to have people come in and do those transactions," Whitcomb said.

Police recommend meeting during the day to buy or sell, but if late at night or early in the morning is more convenient, don't fret.

"We are a 24/7 operation," said Whitcomb. "There's always going to be police traffic."

For Pastrana, she likes having the police lobby option even though she may not use it.

"I think that's good," Pastrana said. "I have a lot of friends [who] have had sketchy things [happen]. People are awkward. They feel unsafe."

The Chicago Police Department started the trend that's now catching on across the county.