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New program aims to reduce anti-LGBTI hate crime in Seattle

New program aims to reduce anti-LGBTI hate crime in Seattle

Seattle Police Department has teamed up with a local social justice organization to address anti-LGBTI bias and hate crimes.

Seattle’s openly gay mayor, Ed Murray, and Seattle PD’s Chief of Police, Kathleen O’Toole, yesterday announced the launch of SPD Safe Place, a new campaign in partnership with Social Outreach Seattle.

Developed by Jim Ritter, Seattle PD’s LGBTI Liaison Officer, who worked with Social Outreach Seattle to improve the relationship between the police and the LGBTI community.

‘Seattle welcomes all people,’ Murray said.

‘There is no place for bigotry or harassment in our city. We developed Safe Place so that businesses and community organizations can visibly stand up against intolerance and provide shelter to victims.’

The campaign’s main aim is to prevent and appropriately respond to anti-LGBTI crimes by improving public education and visibility.

It is the first time a major city’s police department has forged close connections with the LGBTI community in what the press released call as ‘bold and progressive statement’.

‘Seattle Police officers work every day with the diverse communities of Seattle to ensure safety,’ O’Toole said in a statement.

‘SPD Safe Place is another way of connecting and educating those who live, work and visit Seattle about how the SPD can assist in times of crisis.’

The program is voluntary; businesses taking part will receive decals and information on how to report malicious harassment, including advice on when to call 911 and sheltering hate crime victims until police arrive.

Social Outreach Seattle has worked on anti-crime initiatives in Capitol Hill, the city’s LGBTI neighborhood, while the numbers of incidents classified as gentrification saw a rise in bias or hate crimes.