REDMOND, WA - The Redmond Police Department is unveiling Safe Place, a program that partners with local businesses to provide secure locations for victims of hate crimes to contact police.
Participating businesses place an easily recognizable decal at their entrances. This decal is a signal for victims of hate crimes that this location has partnered with the police, will call 911 on their behalf and allow them a safe place stay on the premises until the police arrive.
We are fortunate in Redmond to have low violent crime rates and few incidents involving hate or bias-based crimes. However, According to FBI statistics, hate crimes rose 78 percent in Washington between 2013 and 2017. Redmond Police Department is committed to ensure all residents and visitors of our city know hate crimes will not be tolerated in our city.
"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. "This program is designed to build bridges among police, the business community, and those who may experience harassment and need to quickly find refuge."
For the police to respond effectively to any crime, they must be notified immediately via 911 so that any injuries can be treated, witnesses can be interviewed, and evidence can be collected and preserved.
Unfortunately, victims of bias-motivated crimes are often fearful to report for a variety of reasons. This can lead to a significant under-reporting and inaccurate statistics. It also allows the suspects who committed these crimes to continue their behavior with other victims. The Redmond Police Department wants victims of hate crimes to feel comfortable reporting these incidents to the police.
Redmond PD has adopted the Safe Place model created by the Seattle Police Department in 2015. Seattle PD Safe Place is a law enforcement sponsored and overseen initiative that was born out of a need to address low reporting of anti-LGBTQ crimes and school bullying incidents by increasing public trust in law enforcement and feelings of safety in the community.
More than 6,000 Seattle businesses participate in the program. Safe Place has also been adopted by more than 200 law enforcement agencies worldwide.
In 2018 SPD Safe Place program and decal was updated to encourage any victim of a hate crime, including those related to the LGBTQ community, to seek help with Safe Place. SPD was the first law enforcement agency in the nation to launch a program of this kind. For more information on the inception of the Safe Place program and details of what constitutes bias-related crimes, please visit Seattle Police Department Safe Place.
RPD extends big thanks to Seattle PD Officer Jim Ritter, who founded the Safe Place program and was incredibly gracious and helpful in sharing the program with our department.
For information about the RPD Safe Place program and what constitutes a hate crime visit www.rpdsafeplace.com.
For media inquiries contact Andrea Wolf-Buck, Public Information Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 425-556-2545.
RPD Safe Place decals will be placed in participating business' windows to indicate that anyone can seek assistance in that establishment.[/caption]