Florida city, businesses helps hate crime victims

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — The Tampa Police Department has launched a partnership with local businesses, schools and community groups to provide a sanctuary for victims of hate crimes and bullying.

As part of the police Safe Place program, participating businesses place colorful decals on a front door or window to signal that hate crime victims can seek shelter there and call 911 to report the crime.

Officials announced the program in a news release Monday. Tampa police officers train employees for how to respond if a victim seeks help. The program is modeled after similar efforts in Orlando and Seattle.

The department timed the announcement to coincide with the one year anniversary of the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, where gunman Omar Mateen targeted and fatally shot 49 people.