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LGBTQ Safe Place Initiative

What is it?

Sample LGBTQ Safe Place Decal

The Orange County Sheriff's Office is committed to the safety of all LGBTQ residents and visitors.

The mission of the OCSO Safe Place Initiative is to provide the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning (LGBTQ) community with easily accessibly safety information and safe places throughout the city they can turn to if they are the victim of crime or student bullying.

Through the Safe Place Initiative, OCSO will provide decals and signage to County buildings, local businesses, and other organizations and those entities will clearly post them as a symbol of safety for the victims of LGBTQ crime.

Anyone who seeks solace in a Safe Place location can be assured that if they are the victim of a crime, police will promptly be called. In addition to the 911 police response to these incidents, OCSO has several LGBTQ liaison deputies who have built partnerships within the LGBTQ community and are a resource for any questions or concerns our residents or visitors might have.

Learn more about our Liaisons.

 

 

 

Participate in Safe Place

Displaying the OCSO Safe Place symbol carries some important responsibilities that will greatly assist in protecting Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning (LGBTQ) victims of crime.

 

These LGBTQ victims will recognize that the Safe Place symbol indicates your business or organization is willing to assist them. By registering as a Safe Place in Orange County, you agree to:

  • Apply the Safe Place decal outside the front entrance of your establishment. If there is no glass at your front entrance, a Safe Place poster can be placed conspicuously inside.
  • Allow these victims to enter and remain at your premise until deputies arrive.
  • Call, or assist these victims in calling 911.

Register as a Safe Place to get your decal.


What is a Bias Crime?

The Orange County Sheriff's Office tracks all crimes that occur within the unincorporated areas of Orange County. This tracking is conducted so that the OCSO can identify problem areas within the County and direct patrol and/or investigative resources to reduce these incidents. The FBI also mandates statistical crime reporting from every law enforcement agency in the United States.

Bias incidents that occur within unincorporated Orange County fall under three categories:

Malicious Harassment: The reason the suspect targeted the victim was based on the suspect's belief about the victim's race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, sexual orientation, mental, physical, or sensory handicap, homelessness, marital status, age, parental status, gender, or political identity.

Crimes with Bias Elements: That during the commission of any crime, bias comments are made.

Non-Criminal Bias Incidents: Offensive and/or derogatory language that although hurtful, does not meet the level of a crime and may fall under the category of free speech.

Reporting Crimes

If you are a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning (LGBTQ) victim of, or witness to a crime, please report the incident to law enforcement, either during, or immediately after it occurs by calling 911.

The 911 Operator needs quick and concise information, such as;

  • Your injuries: 911 Operator will call medics while talking with you.
  • Specifics of the crime: What happened?
  • What was said: Tell the 911 Operator and the responding officer if the suspect(s) used words to indicate a hate crime.
  • If there was a weapon involved: Describe it as a gun, knife, etc.
  • Description of suspect(s): Age, race, height, weight, and clothing description of the suspect(s).
  • Any unusual characteristics: Scars, marks, tattoos, piercings, speech, etc.
  • Suspect vehicle description: Color, make, model, vehicle license.
  • Direction of travel: Which way did they flee?

Even if you think the crime is insignificant, or that you don't want to bother law enforcement over small issues, reporting crimes quickly allows the Orange County Sheriff's Office to:

  • Respond immediately to the scene to prevent further harm to you or others.
  • Collect evidence that could be destroyed if not discovered and collected quickly.
  • Interview witnesses who may otherwise be gone if you delay your call to 911.
  • Apprehend the suspect(s) quickly so they do not continue to victimize others.
  • Determine if the suspect(s) are engaged in a pattern of previous and/or ongoing behavior that threatens the community.
  • Increase community awareness of criminal activity in the area through media notification and alerts.
  • Develop solutions and/or deterrents to reduce the crime by adding patrols to the area.