Bill No. 567 in the City Council has gained the public spotlight as two college graduates help city councilmembers fight for safe places to exchange goods in for New York’s meetup culture.
City Council Member Mark Treyger, representative of the 47th Council District introduced a bill to amend the administrative code of the City to allow citizens to transact online deals in the safety of police precincts. Aptly, nicknamed the “Internet Protection Exchange Location” bill and its proponents seek to proactively end crimes that arise from online transactions by educating online transactors on how to safely trade and creating safe spaces for meetups to occur in.
“No New Yorker should ever have to fear for their safety during a simple financial transaction,” said Council Member Treyger. “Too many internet-arranged transactions have turned into tragic incidents here in our city and across the country. Arranging to conduct sales or exchanges at NYPD-monitored locations can help us wipe out a completely avoidable type of criminal activity and keep New Yorkers safe.”
Through persistent advocacy efforts, articles on the bill were printed in local media despite the bills inactivity. The differing factor: two 21-year-olds, Steven D. Patzer and Andrew J. Windsor, were making noise.
The two, having met and just graduated from Baruch College in May 2018, wanted to bring about a positive change in the community. Patzer cites his youthful days making a profit using sites like Craigslist and Facebook groups: “When I used to meet up with strangers, I was nervous, but thankfully I was never hurt. I read stories of online deals going wrong and I’m scared for the next generation of young entrepreneurs who want to transact safely and honestly.” Windsor, now a student at Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, sees this as a safe and cheap method to deterring crime: “To me, this is a simple solution to a growing underground market; it’s entirely cost-effective and a community-building policy that benefits the public.” Together the two have contacted media outlets, councilmembers, and buyers and sellers on the internet to raise awareness on the bill’s importance.
In February of 2018, the bill was referred to the Committee on Public Safety. Chair Donovan Richards says: “Securing safe meetup locations for internet purchase exchanges sounds like a common-sense measure to ensure the safety of both buyers and sellers, as more and more people move away from shopping at brick-and-mortar stores, the City should properly prepare to protect these transactions. I look forward to hearing more from the NYPD and impacted stakeholders on the concerns and the feasibility of using local police precincts.”
To learn more about the cause, concerned citizens could visit here.