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MURPHY (June 24, 2021) As more retail transactions take place online with many of the exchanges occurring on a face-to-face basis, the Murphy Police Department has established a location designated as a safe exchange spot. The technology for the new spot was included as part of the 2017 Capital Improvement Projects bond program.
When finalizing a purchase or exchange from a private individual conducted on Craigslist, eBay, Facebook, Nextdoor or any other social media site, security officials advise that it’s best to conduct the actual face-to-face transaction in a public place, monitored by a third party. That’s what the safe exchange spot will offer.
“In addition to the obvious health concerns, some people may worry about the safety and security of these encounters, especially with people they have never met,” says Police Chief Trey Cotten. “Even though there is nothing to indicate that this is a problem in Murphy, we have nevertheless established a safe exchange spot where people can conduct these exchanges with the confidence that comes from knowing someone is watching.”
The site is located in the parking lot of the Police Department, 206 North Murphy Road, behind Murphy’s City Hall. Cameras with a view of the exchange spot are constantly monitoring the movements of people and vehicles in the spot’s general area, with specific focus on the spot. The 24-hour surveillance system sends the images directly to the Police Department’s closed circuit system where dispatch operators can view the transactions and record them.
“Any activity that does not meet the general standards of civility can be reported by the dispatch operators to officers on duty,” said the Chief. “While we always expect that residents and visitors will be respectful of each other during a transaction, there is always the possibility of disagreements and disputes. Our safe exchange spot is designed to discourage those disagreements from escalating.”
The safe exchange spot is also a preferred location for the exchange of children in shared custody situations. Parents can safely and securely hand over their children without the added anxiety of doing so in isolation.
A prominent sign has been erected and the spot has been painted a contrasting color to indicate the safe exchange spot’s precise location.
“People can find some exceptional deals online, and we certainly encourage that. What we want is to ensure that the interactions between the buyer and the seller occur in a safe and secure manner,” added the Chief.