No one should ever feel unsafe in the community in which they live. For that reason, the Petaluma Police Department and the City of Petaluma are collaborating with its community to ensure that hate, of any kind, is not tolerated in our city. An important part of providing safety for everyone is making “safe spaces” accessible at all times, seven days a week, twenty-four hours a day. The Safe Spaces program is a public awareness campaign that also has a physical component to keep a community member who is a victim of a hate crime, violent crime, or feels threatened- targeted in conjunction with hate crime, with an immediate location in which to enter to call the police for assistance.
HOW TO PARTICIPATE
Businesses, schools, places of worship, and not-for-profit organizations that wish to support the Safe Space program, can fill out the online form on the right-hand side of this page to be registered and receive a free decal to display in a place visible to the public. When you enroll in the Safe Space registry you agree to protect others by:
- Allowing victims to enter and remain at your premises until the Petaluma Police arrive.
- Call, or assist victims in contacting 9-1-1 immediately to report hate crimes.
- Owners-managers will instruct all employees and volunteers to assist victims and /or witnesses in this protocol to prevent crime.
- The Safe Space anti-hate program applies to anyone regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion or age.
ALWAYS REPORT SUSPECTED HATE CRIMES
Even if you believe them to be insignificant, your information is vital to increasing public safety for all who live in your community. Calling 9-1-1 immediately, allows us to:
- Prevent further harm or violence.
- Collect evidence before it is destroyed.
- Interview witnesses who can assist with convictions.
- Apprehend Suspects so they DO NOT victimize others.
- Warn the community of hate crime activity in the area through social media and alerts.
- Increase patrols in the area.
WHAT IS A HATE CRIME?
According to the California Attorney General’s Office-Victims’ Services Unit, in California, you can be a victim of a hate crime if you have been targeted because of your:
- Race or ethnicity
- Nationality, religion
- Gender, sexual orientation
- Physical or mental disability, or your association with a person or group with one or more of these “actual “ or “perceived” characteristics.
REPORTING LGBTQI+ HATE CRIMES
If you are a victim of a hate crime, or you have witnessed one, please report the incident to the Petaluma Police Department as soon as possible. Regardless of whether the call comes during the incident, or after, please call our Public Safety Dispatch Center at 9-1-1. Please be prepared to relay the following information to the Public Safety 9-1-1 dispatcher:
- Your injuries: medical assistance will be called to assist if needed.
- The specifics of the crime: What happened? Who, what, where, when.
- What was said? Tell the dispatcher and the responding officer if the suspects used words that indicate a hate crime.
- Were any weapons involved? Please describe the gun, knife etc. in as much detail as possible.
- Description of the suspects: Age, race, ethnicity, height, weight and clothing.
- Any Unusual or defining characteristics: Scars, marks, tattoos, piercings, speech pattern, etc.
- Suspect vehicle description: Color, make, model, vehicle license plate number.
- Direction of travel: Which way did they leave the scene?
INFORMATION FOR VICTIMS
The California Victims’ Bill of Rights Act-Marsy’s Law-gives you these important legal rights:
- Money for your losses-medical expenses, lost wages, property damage and attorney fees.
- Inform the court on how the crime impacted your life before the defendant is sentenced.
- Get information from the prosecutor regarding your case.
- Receive Protective Orders to keep the defendant away from you.
California Attorney General’s Office Victims Services Unit PO Box 944255
Sacramento, CA 94244-2550
LGBTQI+ HATE CRIME RESOURCES
Sonoma County LGBTQI+ support groups, mental health services, legal assistance, counseling and suicide prevention.
Learn more about our efforts below:
Argus Courier article: Petaluma launches ‘Safe Space’ program during Pride Month (petaluma360.com)
KPIX News- Petaluma Police Pride Month : https://www.cbsnews.com/sanfrancisco/news/petaluma-pd-showing-its-true-colors-for-pride-month/
The Safe Space Anti-Hate campaign is a completely voluntary community service program.
Disclaimer: Requesting a safe space sticker does not create a special relationship between the City of Petaluma, the Petaluma Police Department and your organization, nor does it create any legal duties on behalf of the City of Petaluma and its entities to inspect, maintain, or manage your location or otherwise ensure that your location does not discriminate against anyone. An individual enters a “Safe Space” business at their own risk. And organizations who provide a Safe Space haven to the community take responsibility for their environment. This anti-hate Safe Space program is completely voluntary to all parties involved.