LAKEWOOD, Ohio (WJW) – The City of Lakewood is now taking part in the nationwide Safe Place initiative. 

The Safe Place initiative was launched to make sure there are safe places throughout the city for victims and those at risk of hate crimes, harassment and bullying, first developed by the Seattle Police Department, according to a press release from the City of Lakewood.

The initiative is a community-based approach to policing and safety that is led by the Lakewood Police Department.

“The City of Lakewood is always exploring innovative methods to address safety holistically and to be a welcoming community for our residents and visitors,” Lakewood Mayor Meghan George. “This initiative helps to build relationships between our businesses, community, and police department and to send the message that Lakewood takes these issues seriously and will address them proactively.”

Businesses and organizations can also join the initiative by contacting the Lakewood Police Department. There is a brief training to complete before getting a Safe Place sticker that will be placed in a prominent spot in the window or door, the release said.

“When an individual sees a Safe Place sticker, they know that there are people inside who care and that they can come through the door and access help immediately,” said Patrol Officer Arianna Zuk. “We hope the initiative will encourage real-time reporting of these incidents which will enable us to respond quickly and efficiently and make our community a safer place for everyone.”

The initiative has been adopted by over 300 police departments across the US and beyond. The Lakewood Police Department is one of the first in Ohio to adopt the Safe Place Initiative, according to the release.

If you are interested in making your business or organization a Safe Place, click here.