This article describes San Jose's (California) participation in a program begun in Seattle in 2015 called the Safe Place Program, which assists victims of a hate crime in reporting their victimization.
Under the Safe Place Program, police departments recruit businesses and train their employees in how to provide a safe place for victims of hate crimes to receive support and help in contacting police. The business shows that it provides such services by displaying the Safe Place decal where it is visible to those who pass by or enter the business' facilities. The San Jose Police anticipate that Safe Place will not only provide needed assistance to hate-crime victims, but also improve the community's perception that San Jose is a community that cares about residents' safety. San Jose's Safe Place Program began in August 2018 with approximately 70 Starbucks and Wells Fargo locations as the original partners. These businesses were already participating in Seattle's Safe Place as the original partners. Following the lead of these two businesses in San Jose, applications to the program began coming from credit union, schools, nail parlors, ice cream shops, and many other business types. Participants must sign an agreement that at least two employees are on duty during all business hours, and that one employee will contact 911 while the other employee remains with the victim. All employees must receive training in these procedures before the police department will accept the business as a Safe Place partner. Although it is too soon to measure the program's results in San Jose, the police believe it is already improving community relations.
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Date Published: November 1, 2019