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The original item was published from 8/12/2016 12:12:00 PM to 8/31/2016 10:41:57 AM.

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Danville, VA Local Government News and Announcements

Posted on: August 12, 2016

[ARCHIVED] City sets up ‘Safe Exchange Zone’ for citizens

Safe Exchange Zone sign

The City of Danville has created a “Safe Exchange Zone” for use by citizens who are meeting to complete an online or phone transaction, or even for couples who are involved in custody agreements and want a public place to pick up their children.

The zone consists of 10 parking spaces located in the public parking lot adjacent the Municipal Building. Signs are posted to mark the designated area.

“We decided to put it in this particular area because it is adjacent to the Police Department, it is well lit and we have four security cameras that cover this area,” Assistant Police Chief Dean Hairston said Thursday. “The cameras record 24/7 and we monitor them.”

Under these conditions, citizens will be on their best behavior, Hairston said. For example, if somebody had the intent to commit a robbery or an assault, then that person would not be willing to meet at a safe exchange zone.

“We’re not saying that it would not happen, but they are less likely to come to an area like this that is monitored and would have have police officers coming and going 24 hours a day,” Hairston said. “If individuals were to come here and become involved in a domestic dispute, then we are right here and would step out to restore order.”

It’s an idea that has proven helpful in other cities. Police created the zone at the suggestion of Councilman James Buckner.

“I am proud of all the hard work the City employees have put into making this happen,” Buckner said. “This zone outside the Municipal Building will give citizens an added sense of security to do business.”

Here are a few safety tips if you are unable to use a designated safe exchange zone:

• Use a well-lit, public parking lot with video surveillance
• Bring a friend or family member with you
• Let others know where you are meeting and what time
• Avoid meeting at your home
• Avoid nighttime transactions

River City TV story on "Safe Exchange Zone".
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