In an effort to provide safe havens for Internet purchases and sales, counties in the Midlands have established Internet Exchange Zones for public use. The designated Internet Exchange Zones are located in areas that have 24-hour video surveillance, on premises that have high visibility or where there's law enforcement presence. Some are identified with signs.
If you are making an exchange in a Richland County location that does not have surveillance, "it's encouraged that you call a police station to have a deputy in the area when conducting your business," said Lt. Curtis Wilson, public information officer of Richland County Sheriff's Department.
Wilson recommends, "if possible, use (Internet Exchange Zones) during daylight hours, call the non-emergency number for dispatch at (803) 252-9111 and let them know the time and location where the exchange will take place if done at dusk."
The use of Internet Exchange Zones can be a deterrent to criminals; however, vigilance is key.
"Never come alone to meet a stranger. Let someone know where and when you are going to meet (for the transaction) and get the name and any contact information you might have for the person you are meeting" said Ken Bell, public information officer of Sumter County Sheriff's Office.
The designated Internet Exchange Zones for the surrounding counties are:
Main Police Headquarters -- 5623 Two Notch Road Columbia, SC 29223 (24-hour surveillance)
Region 1 Headquarters --- 2615 Lower Richland Boulevard Hopkins, SC 29061
Region 3 Headquarters -- 6429 Bishop Avenue Columbia, SC 29210
Region 4 Headquarters -- 1019 Beatty Road Columbia, SC 29210
Region 6 Headquarters -- 118 McNulty Street Blythewood, SC 29016
Sheriff's Office -- 1281 North Main Street (US Hwy 15 N) Sumter, SC 29153 (24-hour surveillance)
Sumter Police Department -- 107 East Hampton Avenue Sumter, SC 29150 (24-hour surveillance)
The Bi-Lo parking lot -- 2055 Wedgefield Road Sumter, SC 29154 (24-hour surveillance)
Lexington Municipal Complex - 111 Maiden Lane Lexington, SC 29072 (24-hour surveillance)
Kershaw: Does not have a designated Internet Exchange Zone.
Kershaw County Sheriff's Office -- 821 Ridgeway Road Lugoff, SC 29078
Camden Police Department -- 1000 Lyttleton St, Camden, SC 29020