Last Monday, the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office launched a countywide Safe Place program that establishes temporary shelters for individuals threatened by hate crimes.
Safe Place is a national law enforcement initiative that was developed by the Seattle Police Department in 2015.
“The Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office is proud to facilitate the Safe Place initiative and serve as a bridge that connects law enforcement to their communities in a joint effort to address hate and bias crimes,” Hudson County Prosecutor Esther Suarez said. “Hudson County is often celebrated for its diversity, and it is my hope this program will continue to define our community as a safe place for everyone, regardless of religion, race or background.”
Participating businesses, social organizations and schools will receive a decal for the exterior of their building, signifying to the public that they are a Safe Place partner. The program is free to participate in and only has two requirements: Individuals must call 911 immediately if a victim of any crime enters the premises and allow the victim to remain at the establishment until police arrive.
The Prosecutor’s Office made clear that Safe Place is meant for all hate crimes, including those based on race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender expression or identity, mental, physical or sensory disabilities, homelessness, marital status, political ideology, age or parental status.
As of Monday, three Hoboken businesses had become participants in the Safe Place program:
- The Hive, a coffee and lifestyle shop located at 1000 Park Avenue
- Uncle Milton Cafe, an LGBTQ+ owned cafe located at 1119 Jefferson Street
- Bean Vault Coffee, a law enforcement-owned coffee shop located at 1 Newark Street
While the program has its first locations in Hoboken, the prosecutor’s office hopes to see it expand. “It is a county-wide program and open to Jersey City businesses and organizations to participate” said a spokesperson for the HCPO.
Hudson County businesses interested in participating in Safe Place can sign up by visiting the following link: https://hcpo.org/hudson-county-safe-place/.