In the city’s efforts to stop hate crimes, the Dallas Police Department is joining with local groups and businesses to encourage any victim to report a crime. The initiative is focused on supporting the LGBTQ community, which is less likely to report hate crimes.
Dallas Police Chief Eddie Garcia says he’s seen these partnerships work in Seattle and elsewhere. DPD will join willing businesses, the national Safe Place program and local groups like Dallas Hope Charities to offer a safe haven for those experiencing hate crimes.
“This is not a DPD initiative. This is a city of Dallas initiative,” Garcia said. “This is not only for our residents or businesses, or visitors into Dallas. We’re not going to tolerate hate. We ensure our community and our most vulnerable know that they are going to be protected not just by those individuals wearing a uniform, but by businesses and their partners and the rest of this community.”
Research shows members of the LGBTQ community are especially hesitant to report crimes because they fear discrimination from police and others. Ciera Oates, with Dallas Hope Charities, says her organization is about instilling dignity, stability and hope for all.
“This program is in line with that. It allows for LGBTQ — those in the community — to have the confidence to find a place that has a safe haven to report hate crimes,” Oates said.
Businesses that sign up for the program can display a Safe Place sticker where victims can wait until police arrive at the scene of a hate crime.