Tampa police team up with local businesses to protect victims of hate crimes

Tampa Police Department

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Tampa police have teamed up with local businesses to give victims of hate crimes and bullying a safe place to go.

The department is one of many cities across the country that’s implementing a program called Safe Place.

The program designates local businesses as a place where victims of hate crimes can seek shelter while they wait on police to arrive.

“Our police force and the community we serve reflect a city that values diversity and inclusion. The TPD Safe Place program reaffirms the commitment we have to keeping every individual in Tampa safe. With the help of our business community, we are sending a unified message that crimes motivated by prejudice and hate will not be tolerated in our city,” said Tampa Police Chief Eric Ward.

Business owners are given a sticker—a police shield with a rainbow flag—that goes up on the front of their business to identify the establishment as a safe space.

“Tampa is a city that’s foundation is rooted in our diversity and in our city nobody should be demonized based on who they love, the color of their skin, the God they worship, or anything else for that matter,” said Mayor Bob Buckhorn. “That’s why TPD is teaming up with local businesses throughout the community to make sure everyone has a safe place’ to go and report a crime if they feel discriminated against.”

By participating in the program, local businesses agree to be called a TPD Safe Place and provide shelter to victims until police can arrive. The department says this “in no way gives participating companies the authority to act on behalf of the police department in a law enforcement capacity.”

Businesses interesting in partnering with the Tampa Police on this program can visit  tampagov.net/tpdsafeplace.

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