SAN DIEGO — The City of San Diego launched a new “Safe Place” program that will designate local businesses as spaces where victims can safely report hate crimes or harassment.
The program, aimed at protecting members of the city’s LGBTQ community, was unveiled Wednesday by Police Chief David Nisleit, city councilmembers and local business leaders.
The initiative will give businesses stickers that they can display in their window, containing a QR code with information on how to report hate crimes and other community resources for people often targeted with harassment or violence.
“Over the past several months, SDPD’s LGBTQ liaison, Officer Christine Garcia, has worked with LGBTQ community members to develop the program for businesses in Hillcrest, North Park and surrounding neighborhoods, with plans to expand the program to businesses serving the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities in the coming months,” a city news release explained.
Businesses wanting to display the LGBTQ Safe Place Program sticker in their store can visit the city’s website.
Police say they are also in the process of developing new policies about how officers interact with transgender and gender non-binary — meaning people who do not identify specifically as male or female — San Diegans.
“The new procedure will establish guidelines for how SDPD officers use visual and verbal cues to become aware of an individual’s gender identification, proper documentation of this information in reports for continuity of treatment, and ensuring any jail bookings, pat-downs or searches are performed in accordance with their preferred gender status,” the city statement says.
The new policies are still under review.