Buyers and sellers using the internet and parents dropping off children for visitation now have a new, safer option courtesy of the sheriff’s office and International Paper.
Sheriff Jody Greene said Wednesday that a “Safe Zone” has been set up in front of the sheriff’s office in Whiteville. The designated parking area is marked in green. It’s located at 805 Washington Street near the magistrate’s entrance.
The Safe Zone has 24-hour video surveillance and enhanced lighting. A panic button is being installed to immediately summon law enforcement in case of an emergency.
The changes are being made through a grant from the International Paper Foundation.
The project was in the works before the Nov. 29 shooting of two Hope Mills men who met a couple via a Craigslist ad for a used car. Both suspects, Mark Anthony Nelson and Tameka Ford, are currently in jail.
“I want to encourage citizens that plan to complete property exchanges at the Safe Zone, to take a friend or relative with them to complete the purchase,” Greene said. “I recommend telling a trusted person your plans and meeting time before you leave for the exchange. We’re confident this will be an asset to the citizens of Columbus County.”