Wilton Manors police launches new program to help victims of hate, bias or harassment crimes

WILTON MANORS, Fla. – The Wilton Manors Police Department is implementing a new program in partnership with local businesses.

It’s called the Safe Place program, which has been created to combat a stigma of discomfort for people who have been victims of hate, bias or harassment crimes.

Dozens of businesses have volunteered and trained staff on how to deal with the sensitive issues.

Commissioner Chris Caputo said the citywide program has been in the works for months.

It uses businesses as a bridge to solve crimes and creates places where victims may be more comfortable showing up.

Each safe place is marked by the official logo at or near the entrance.

“Anyone can walk in and report what they’ve experienced in a way that’s more helpful then perhaps going to the police for them,” said Caputo. “They’ll still be met with an empathetic understanding individual whose been trained on how to handle that situation, and ultimately, then have that reported to the police.”

Wilton Manors police is also on board with the idea that essentially creates a new reporting mechanism for crimes, especially against the LGBTQ+ population.

“All we’re doing is the right thing — somebody is being harassed or threatened, whatever the case may be, and as such, we’re just gonna step in and give them a safe place to come to so that we can facilitate calling the police and getting them involved,” said Bill Butler, assistant manager at Out of the Closet thrift store.

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