Award: SPD Safe Place Initiative

January 1, 2017

Innovations in American Government Awards

  • AWARD WON: 2017 Semifinalist
  • AWARDEE: SPD Safe Place Initiative
  • DESIGNEE: City of Seattle, WA
  • JURISDICTION: Washington

The Seattle Police Department (SPD) Safe Place allows Seattle’s business owners and organizations to collaborate with "their police" to assist the victims of hate crimes. This concept is the first in the nation designed to educate the public, define their role in reducing crime and generate a productive dialogue regarding historically sensitive information involving the LGBTQ community. Adapted from a 1970s-era program that utilized window decals to indicate homes that would shelter children who felt unsafe on public transportation, this concept was feasible, inexpensive to replicate and with some alterations (using businesses and organizations instead of residences) would be equally as effective with adult victims of crimes. The SPD Safe Place concept utilizes a 4”x6” rainbow-colored police badge with basic information that identifies each participating business or organization as a Safe Place for the victims of any crime (especially LGBTQ hate crimes). There is also an Anti-LGBTQ Student Bullying phase to this initiative in progress as of 2016. Training to the businesses, organizations and schools is provided by the SPD, free of charge, as are the deacls. During development, it was imperative to get buy-in from the City’s businesses associations, school administration, LGBT media and input from the victims of these hate crimes. The programs ongoing operations and achievements include over 4,000 Seattle area businesses and organizations participating in SPD Safe Place, with more online requests being received daily. There has also been a visible increase in LGBTQ hate crimes being reported resulting in arrests. The U.S. Department of Justice Monitor also reported that there was a 17 percent increase in the trust between the LGBTQ community and the Police in 2015. The SPD Safe Place concept is currently being adopted and/or examined by over 50 U.S. and Canadian police agencies.