LAURINBURG — An “exchange zone” will open next week at the Scotland County Sheriff’s Office for safe online transactions and child custody visitation.
Located at 212 Biggs St., the sheriff’s office has designated the parking area outside the office as a safe exchange zone. Transactions can begin on Dec. 21 and the area is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Officials said with the number of anonymous, online initiated transactions increasing, they hope to deter crime by offering the designated space.
“A month ago I had one or two citizens of Scotland County mention that they were buying some items from Craigslist and E-bay and how it would be nice to have a place where they would feel safe making their exchange,” said Sheriff Ralph Kersey.
The zone was created in an effort to protect citizens from becoming victims of robberies, thefts, and scams associated with online transaction sites. The area will also allow parents to have a safer location for child custody visitation exchanges. However, deputies and employees are not available to participate as official witnesses, give legal advice or settle disputes unless it becomes an emergency situation.
It is not a drop off where parents can leave children for a later pick up time.
The zone will be clearly marked with signs indicating Sheriff’s Office Exchange Zone. It will be under 24-hour video surveillance and well-lit at night. While the area will be video monitored, there may not always be personnel there. If a person is in need of emergency assistance while in the exchange zone they should call 911.
“It was just another way to try and reduce our crime rate and our crime reporting — we wanted to come up with a good location and prevent some type of crime taking place,” Kersey said. “That would be one less report and one less victim and I believe it’s going to work out really well.”
The Scotland County Sheriff’s Office Exchange Zone has been registered as a National Safe Deal Zone at www.safedeal.zone
Abby Hackmann can be reached at 910-506-3171.