The Social Circle Police Department has established an exchange zone in front of the police department for anybody who may be uneasy about meeting a strange person for an e-commerce transaction or for pick up and drop off of children in custody cases.
Social Circle Police Chief Tyrone Oliver said it enables people to stipulate a place where there is adequate lighting, 24-hour video surveillance and the police department is right there. A sign has been put up denoting the exchange zone and giving the number for the police department or 911 should emergency services be required. He did stress, however, that the police department cannot guarantee safety in these circumstances and nor is it responsible for any e-commerce transaction.
The need for such zones was highlighted recently when the city had to deal with a double homicide that happened just outside the city limits when the Internet sale of a motorcycle went bad. Two men who had travelled to Social Circle to meet with a prospective buyer for the bike were shot and the bike stolen. A Social Circle teen is charged in the crime.
“It was actually in the works prior to the double homicide, but it gives people an opportunity and a place they can come to do exchanges. A lot of time we do custody exchanges here at the police department and we had one guy who was selling a car the other day and he came up here to do it,” Oliver said. “This is a designated area so people know they can come here. We’re not the middle man for any transaction and the City nor Police Department is not responsible for any kind of transaction, but this is an area they can arrange to meet.”
Other local law enforcement agencies have similar exchange zones, such as the Monroe Police Department.