04/17/2013 06:46 pm ET

San Francisco LGBT Safe Zones: Police Department Reaches Out To Community


This article comes to us courtesy of SF Weekly's The Snitch.

By Erin Sherbert

If you're part of the LGBT community and a victim of a crime, Police Chief Greg Suhr wants you to know the cops will help you.

San Francisco police launched a new program aimed to help the LGBT community deal with crimes that have been going unreported. This new program launched yesterday designated all 10 of the city's police stations as "safe zones" for the LGBT community.

What that means is the police stations will feature "Safe Zone" placards to remind everyone that the officers are sensitive to working with LGBT clients, and knowing this will, hopefully, let victims feel comfortable filing police reports.

Ultimately, police would like to get better statistics of hate crimes and other incidents against the LGBT community. At a press conference yesterday, the chief stood with members/nuns of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, a gay activist group, explaining how LGBT victims are not utilizing police resources enough, in part because they feel ashamed or embarrassed.

He emphasized that there's a history of distrust that needs to be replaced with the city's progressive mindset.

But the new signs, pictured above, pledges that the "station will treat all LGBT individuals with respect, compassion and honesty and that you can ask to speak to a LGBT liaison officer if you so wish," according to the Stop the Violence Facebook page.

The signs are part of the Stop the Violence project that was started after a member of the transgender community was assaulted after leaving a bar in the Mission District earlier this year. In that incident, the Examiner reports, two transgender women were drinking at a local bar when a group of men reportedly told them "to stop pretending" because they were "really men."

The men followed the women out of the bar and attempted to pull the pants off one of them, police said. The victim's friend tried to intervene, but was hit in the head from behind and knocked unconscious. The suspects ran off, and have not been found, according to the Ex.

"We're a police department for everybody," Suhr told reporters.

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