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Saturday, October 24, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Crime/Public Safety

Spokane Police Department launches Safe Place program, encourages reporting of hate crimes

UPDATED: Fri., Oct. 9, 2020

The Safe Place decal displayed in businesses in Spokane who have agreed to be a safe place for crime victims, especially hate crimes.   (Emma Epperly / The Spokesman-Review)
The Safe Place decal displayed in businesses in Spokane who have agreed to be a safe place for crime victims, especially hate crimes.  (Emma Epperly / The Spokesman-Review)

The Spokane Police Department announced Friday its Spokane Safe Place program, which offers all crime victims – but specifically hate crime victims – somewhere safe to wait for police to respond.

Earlier this year, the department was approached by the Spokane PFLAG chapter, asking if a version of Seattle’s Safe Place Program could be implemented in Spokane.

PLFAG is the oldest and largest organization for LGBTQ+ people, their parents, families and allies, according to its website.

After reviewing the program, Spokane police reviewed and updated their policies, along with providing additional training and resources to officers on hate crimes and protected groups.

“As part of this program we would like anyone reporting a Hate Crime to know: We take your complaint seriously and we will investigate hate crimes as reported,” the Spokane Police Department’s website reads.

Hate crimes are defined as crimes perpetrated because of a victim’s race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender expression or identity, or mental, physical or sensory disability, according to Spokane police.

Participating businesses agree to help people who have experienced crimes and feel threatened, indicating their participation by displaying a Safe Place decal in their business.

The decal is a police shield with the rainbow pride flag inside it, reading, “Spokane Police Department Safe Place.”

It goes on to say, “This location is a safe place for victims of hate crimes and harassment to call 911 and wait for police to arrive.”

So far, 16 businesses are signed up for the program as early adopters, most located in the Perry District.

Kitty Kane, owner of nYne Bar & Bistro, said in a statement from SPD that the program solidifies Kane’s goal to provide a safe haven for those in need.

“You can come to us, we will take care of you, and we will make sure you get home,” Kane wrote.

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