Safe Space for Hate Crime Victims in St Pete

ST. PETERSBURG, FL (970 WFLA) -- The city of St. Petersburg  has a new "safe place" program-- to benefit the LGBTQ community. Lt. Marcus Hughes of the St. Pete police department says they’re inviting local businesses to provide a safe haven for anyone who believes they're the victim of a hate crime.

Business offering a safe space will display rainbow decals, furnished by the police department.

Lt. Hughes says it sends a great message to young people. “Not only does the police department have your back, but these businesses will also have your back. They will not tolerate hate crimes, they will not tolerate hate.”

Police Chief Tony Holloway says officers want to get the message out, that if members of the LGBTQ community feel that someone is trying to harm them, they have a place to go to report it and feel safe.

Police kicked off the Safe Place program at Out of the Closet, a thrift shop chain whose sales benefit the AIDS Healthcare Foundation.

The program is modeled after one in Seattle.   

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