History and Mission

SPD 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.  The program was expanded in 2018 to include anyone who may have been a victim of a bias crime. 

How it Works

SPD Safe Place is a unique partnership with the business community and schools that serve a critical role in assisting the victims of these crimes. Businesses and schools that participate place an easily recognizable decal at their entrances.  This symbol 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.   

  • Over 6,000 businesses throughout Seattle currently participate in the program. 
  • Over 200 police agencies throughout the US and Canada are actively working with SPD to initiate Safe Place in their communities.  

Timeline  

2014

  • Officer Jim Ritter appointed as SPD's first full-time LGBTQ liaison.
  • Recognizing the need in the LGBTQ community, Officer Jim Ritter conceptualized the idea for SPD Safe Place.   

2015

  • SPD Safe Place was launched publicly and received immediate interest and support from Seattle's LGBTQ community, businesses, schools, media and other law enforcement organizations. 

2018

  • SPD Safe Place program and decal was updated to encourage any victim of a hate crime, not just those related to the LGBTQ community to seek help with Safe Place.