Going to Starbucks in San Jose? Now, it can be your Safe Zone against hate crimes

The San Jose Police Department has tied up with local businesses to create Safe Places for victims of hate crimes with specially trained staff.

If you are in San Jose and drop in for your morning shot of coffee at one of the local Starbucks, you may be in for a pleasant surprise.

Some Starbucks across the city are displaying brightly colored stickers with “Safe Place,” emblazoned on them, immediately giving you a feeling of being at home and of being taken care of.

The initiative is a part of an encouraging new program under which the San Jose Police Department has tied up with local businesses to create Safe Places for victims of hate crimes.

With this effort, San Jose has become the first city in North California to create safe spaces for those who may be victims of hate crimes. The police have placed bright stickers at some city businesses that say, “This place is a SAFE ZONE for victims of hate crimes and harassment to call 911 and wait for the police to arrive.”

For now, many Starbucks and Wells Fargo locations are participating in the program. The businesses would also have specially trained staff to handle hate crime situations.

Similar programs have been initiated in cities such as Seattle and Los Angeles too.

In recent times, a lot of hate crimes have been reported at public places even in big US cities. There are many perks of living a big multi-cultural city. But sometimes these perks also come with a cruel reminder that you may be an outsider in a new place you just thought was your home. As hate crimes are on the rise across the US, and particularly in pockets that see a higher concentration of new immigrants, this new initiative definitely deserves to be applauded.

Recently, in Sunnyvale, minutes away from San Jose, Pakistani American restaurant owner Zareen Khan of the popular eatery Zareen’s, was harassed by a stranger who repeatedly came to her table during a lunch and called her a terrorist. While Zareen came out strongly and voiced her experiences on social media, every day immigrants who are targets of hate crime are not in a position to do so.

As the cities along with the active participation of the police open up spaces and hearts as safe havens, hate crimes can be significantly reduced.

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