safe place decal
What is the Safe Place Program?

The Safe Place program is a partnership between the police, business community, and schools. The program aims to create safe locations for individuals to visit if they feel they have been the victim of crimes, but specifically hate (or bias) crimes (which often go unreported). It is a law enforcement sponsored and overseen initiative that was born out of a need to address low reporting of biased based crimes and school bullying incidents by increasing public trust in law enforcement and feelings of safety in the community. The program was first started by the Seattle Police in 2014. Over 200 police agencies in the USA and Canada participate in the Safe Place program.

How does it work?
Businesses and schools that participate place an easily recognizable decal at their entrances. This symbol is a signal for victims of hate crimes that the location has partnered with the police, and will call 911 on the victim’s behalf. The victim will be allowed a safe place to stay on the premises until the police arrive. Participation is FREE and open to businesses, service organizations, schools and government agencies in Newcastle. For safety reasons, the program is not designed, or authorized, for individual and/or residential use.

About the symbol
The Safe Place symbol is trademarked and depicts a police shield surrounding the colors that traditionally have symbolized the LGBTQ community since the 1970s. It is used by others only with the permission of the Seattle Police Department. In 2018, the language on all decals was updated to encourage the reporting of all bias crimes, in all communities. The SAFE PLACE program is meant to convey inclusion and intersectionality with any and all individuals, regardless of their race, religion, political beliefs, nationality, age, gender, sexual orientation and/or identification, or any other differences either actual or perceived.

What is a hate crime?
In Washington State, someone commits a hate crime offense if he or she maliciously and intentionally commits one of the following acts because of his or her perception of the victim's: Race; Color; Religion; Ancestry; National origin; Gender; Sexual orientation; Gender expression or identity; Mental, physical, or sensory disability (a) Causes physical injury to the victim or another person; (b) Causes physical damage to or destruction of the property of the victim or another person; or (c) Threatens a specific person or group of persons and places that person, or members of the specific group of persons, in reasonable fear of harm to person or property. The fear must be a fear that a reasonable person would have under all the circumstances. For purposes of this section, a "reasonable person" is a reasonable person who is a member of the victim's race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, gender, or sexual orientation, or who has the same gender expression or identity, or the same mental, physical, or sensory disability as the victim. Words alone do not constitute a hate crime offense unless the context or circumstances surrounding the words indicate the words are a threat. Threatening words do not constitute a hate crime offense if it is apparent to the victim that the person does not have the ability to carry out the threat. Additional information on the hate crime offense law in Washington is available in RCW 9A.36.080.

What is required of participants?
Newcastle's Police’s Safe Place program is free and voluntary, but it is important that they adhere to these three principals: If a crime victim enters your premise, your staff should call 911 immediately on the victim's behalf. Allow the victim to remain on your premise until police arrive. If the victim leaves prior to police arrival, re-contact 911 and update the operator with the victim's and/or suspect's description and direction of travel.

Want to join?
To order a Newcastle's Police Safe Place decal and be part of the program, contact Chief Jason Houck.

Where do I place my decal?
Newcastle Police Safe Place decals should ideally be placed 3'-5' from the ground, near the front entrance of the building. For schools, the decals should be placed at the front office, or school counselor's office.

Do you have Information to post for employees?
We have a flyer that you can post in your building that notifies employees of the program and the requirements. You can download and print it here.
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