Inspired in part by the Pulse nightclub tragedy in Orlando, the Tampa Police Department is partnering with local businesses to create a "Safe Place" for victims of hate crimes and others seeking refuge from people trying to harm them.
Although still in its infancy, "dozens" of Tampa stores, bars and restaurants already adopted the initiative by putting a "Safe Place" sticker on their front of their businesses. The sticker signals its employees will harbor victims looking for a secure place to dial 911 and wait for authorities.
One of the stores involved is Brad Krantz's Tampa Print Services. For its owner, the decision to become a "Safe Place" was a no-brainer. He spoke with his employees about the potential intense situations. They were with him all the way.
"I just hate to see any kind of bullying or discrimination or hate crimes going on," said an emotional Krantz.
Part of his decision was based on the store's proximity to two schools. He wanted to offer students extra protection.
"If we can help just one person have a place to come feel safe and get the help they need, I'm happy to do my small part," said Krantz.
Tampa Police said there is really only one basic requirement to becoming a "Safe Place": a door that locks to keep out offenders and victims safe from harassment or worse. There is a bit of training and a handbook. The program is free to participants.
For information on how your business can participate in Tampa Police Department's "Safe Place" program, go to www.tampagov.net/police/safe-place.