MARLBORO — This Monmouth County township is the latest municipality to establish a safe exchange zone where Internet strangers can meet in person to exchange money and goods sold online.

Marlboro police cruiser (Marlboro Police)

Recognizing that an increasing number of people are accessing online classified advertisements and conducting exchanges in their homes, officials decided to designate an area in the municipal parking lot as a safe exchange zone, according to Mayor Jonathan Hornik.

"We have to change with technology and with the way the world is changing," said Hornik. "It's our job to anticipate what could happen and to try to provide a safe environment for people to coexist."

Earlier this week, Highlands police reported a resident being held up at gunpoint in his home after a Craigslist transaction.

Marlboro's safe exchange zone is marked by green paint and is less than 100 yards from the police station, well lit and is monitored with 24/7 surveillance.

"If anything goes bad, or if there's some kind of crime being committed, we can respond quickly," Hornik said.

Hornik noted that to use the safe exchange zone, at least one of the people involved in the online transaction exchange must be a resident of Marlboro and registered on the municipal website.

There are restrictions on what can and cannot be transferred.

Hornik anticipates more towns will create these safe exchange zones. East and South Brunswick, Cherry Hill and Bordentown are among the municipalities that already have them.

A complete list for New Jersey can be found here:

Contact reporter Dianne DeOliveira at