A Sheriff in Clayton County, Georgia, has announced the opening of an ‘exchange zone’ where people can meet strangers for the first time following an online interaction.
Located at the county jail, the space will serve a range of internet users. Online daters can get together in a secure environment, while Craigslist buyers and sellers can convene on neutral ground.
The exchange zone has 24/7 CCTV surveillance, as well as frequent deputy patrols. Local police hope that its introduction will help to eliminate the risk of meeting someone from an app or website.
The Clayton County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement: “The Sheriff is (…) urging citizens who date [online] to use the safety exchange zone to meet their ‘potential mate’ at this location first before going anywhere with them.
“This way their face and vehicle can be recorded. Sheriff Victor Hill stated that any stranger who refuses to meet at the exchange zone should be regarded with great suspicion, and not met with at all.”
A similar scheme has seen success in Cherokee County, Atlanta, where seven precincts have set up “public transaction zones”.
The Georgia initiative comes shortly after the FBI warned singles about the dangers of online dating. An official statement from the bureau highlighted the prevalence of romance fraudsters, saying that 15,000 complaints were lodged in that area over the course of 2017.
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