The Baltimore Police Department launched its Safe Place program on Wednesday.
The program creates a safe haven in local stores for victims of a crime. Safe place stickers will be displayed by participating businesses throughout the city.
Any victim of a crime will be able to go into the locations while an employee calls the police and stay on the property until police arrive.
While victims of all crimes will be able to utilize the safe spaces, police want to highlight the fact that the program is also available to victims of anti-LGBTQ related crimes and harassment.
"Once you see the sign you know 'I can go into that business. If I don’t have my cell phone that business will call the police for me. I can sit here. I can remain safe until the police can arrive and handle the call and take care of me from there’," said BPD/LGBTQ Liaison Officer Kevin Bailey.
The Safe Place program is voluntary. Businesses are not asked to violate any of their policies or get involved in any other way besides calling the police and giving the victim a safe place to stay. If the victim decides to leave, the business is asked to call the police and give a description of the victim.
Twelve Starbucks locations in the city are participating in the program. In the coming weeks, the department will go out to recruit more businesses to join.