The Redmond Police Department (RPD) announced this month that it has adopted Seattle’s Safe Place program — in partnerships with local businesses to provide safety to victims of hate crimes.
The program was initially launched with the Seattle Police Department (SPD) in 2015 after officer Jim Ritter was appointed as SPD’s first full-time LGBTQ liaison in 2014. He noticed low reporting numbers of anti-LGBTQ crimes and worked to cultivate public trust in police.
Since that time it has expanded around the country to Bellevue, Los Angeles, Miami and Orlando and across borders to Vancouver, British Columbia in Canada. Now Redmond has been added to the growing list.
In 2018, the Seattle Safe Place decal was updated to include victims of any hate crime, not just those targeting the LGBTQ community.
Andrea Wolf-Buck, RPD spokesperson, noted that hate crimes are on the rise in Washington, despite a low number of reports in Redmond. There were less than five in the city reported in 2017, according to data from the FBI. However, there was 510 hate crimes reported by participating agencies that same year.
Businesses who agree to partner with RPD will place a rainbow-colored decal at their entrances or another visible spot. The decal acts as a marker for those who are the victims of hate crimes that the business is a safe space to seek shelter.
“We are proud to serve a diverse, inclusive community that is committed to being a welcoming and safe city for all,” said Redmond police Sgt. Julie Beard, in an announcement about Redmond adopting the Seattle program. “This program is designed to build bridges among police, the business community, and those who may experience harassment and need to quickly find refuge.”
More than 6,000 businesses participate in the program throughout Seattle and have agreed to both call 911 on the victim’s behalf and allow them to stay on the premises until police arrive.
For more information on the program visit http://bit.ly/2ZkEzfC.