A "Safe Place" Program Launches for June Pride Month from the Somerset County Offices


Somerville, N.J. – Somerset County Prosecutor John P. McDonald, Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Chief of County Detectives Francisco Roman Jr., Somerset County Commissioner Director Shanel Y. Robinson along with Somerset County Officials and Somerset County Business Representatives introduced the Somerset County “Safe Place” Program.

Prosecutor McDonald stated that the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office has been accepted and awarded to participate in the Safe Place program. The purpose of the program is to assist any victims of a Bias or Hate Crime. Businesses or Organizations that register and participate in the program are provided with a “Safe Place” logo shield which is displayed on the window of their storefront. 

Since its inception in 2015, which was started by the Seattle Police Department, the program was set to ensure that victims of these crimes understood that by entering a “Safe Place” establishment they are being provided a safe environment to seek help where their voices will be heard, where they will be treated with care, dignity, and respect from the business until law enforcement responds to investigate.

Prosecutor McDonald stated this initiative began by now-retired Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Detective Iris Reyes. The Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office is the 351st Law Enforcement agency within the United States, Canada or Europe to enact the Safe Place initiative. The Safe Place program is primarily used for any Bias Crime or Anti-LGBTQ+ incident.How the Safe Place Program Works:The Safe Place program is ZERO COST to the business, school, or organization. As with any emergency, your staff should use care and caution when providing the victims of crime safe shelter while being mindful of the safety of your patrons and co-workers while complying with existing company policies.How to Get InvolvedIf you would like to participate, please complete a registration form by visiting the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office at SomersetProsNJ.gov. 

As a participant in the program, you will be provided with a 'Safe Place' window decal which you can put on display at your business or organization to show that you are committed to fighting biases in our community. Once your form has been completed, your application will be sent to the Somerset Prosecutor’s Office Safe Place Coordinator who will then mail you or personally hand you a decal. 

Once received, just place your decal in the main public entrance of your building, easily visible to anyone walking past.Prosecutor McDonald, and Chief Roman encourage anyone witnessing any bias crimes to immediately notify local authorities by dialing 9-1-1. 

Incidents can also be reported to the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Bias Incident Officer at (908) 231-7100 or via the STOPit app. The STOPit app allows citizens to provide anonymous reports including videos and photos. STOPit can be downloaded to your smart phone for free at the Google Play Store or Apple App Store, access code: SOMERSETNJ. Information can also be provided through the Somerset County Crime Stoppers’ Tip Line at 1-888-577-TIPS (8477). All anonymous STOPit reports, and Crime Stopper tips will be kept confidential.

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