The Southern Pines Police Department is reminding the community of the “Internet Purchase Exchange Area” at the Southern Pines Police Department located at 450 W. Pennsylvania Avenue.

Law enforcement across the country has recognized that criminals have been using online commerce to bring victims to them at a time and place of their choosing, which has resulted in stolen property offenses, robberies, sexual assaults and even homicides. The notoriety of crimes, wherein a buyer or seller in an internet arranged transaction was victimized, has created a need for locations where the public has a sense of security.

“There is a room in the Southern Pines Police Department dedicated for internet sales transactions. There is a separate access door which is available 24/7. For larger items you can meet in the parking lot, and the building is under video monitoring 24/7,” said the department Tuesday on their social media page.

Chief Robert Temme offered the following comment upon opening of the Internet Purchase Exchange Area in January of 2016.

“Keeping our community safe is an ever-evolving process. It is imperative that our Police Department embraces change and keeps up with current trends. If we fail to keep up with emerging technology, trends and behavior in commerce, we miss opportunities to improve the safety of those we have sworn to serve and protect.”

If you are considering buying or selling an item online and intend on meeting with the seller or purchaser somewhere other than an internet exchange location, please consider these tips from the Southern Pines Police Department to maintain your safety:

•Never meet a stranger alone. Take someone with you as a witness to the transaction.

•Make the transaction in a public place, such as a Police Precinct.

•Set up the transaction exchange during day light hours.

•Always let someone else know where and who you are meeting.

•Never let anyone come to your home and never go to their home.

•If possible, make the payments through the online methods offered,like PayPal etc.

•Kids, never contact or agree to meet someone in person that you only met online. Make sure you tell your parents.

•Parents, please discuss this with your kids and make sure they understand that they need to tell you if someone contacts them.


File photo~Sandhills Sentinel.

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