San Jose has become the first city in Northern California to partner with businesses to create a “safe zone” for victims of hate crimes.
San Jose police placed stickers at several Starbucks and Wells Fargo branches in the city identifying them as “safe zones”.
"It sends a message again to those that would do harm to our community, that hate crimes are not going not be tolerated," said San Jose police Chief Eddie Garcia.
The idea mirrors similar programs in Seattle and Los Angeles.
Under the program, any person who feels they are victims of a hate crime, can walk into any Starbucks or Wells Fargo banks and find an employee with special training on how to help them.
Participating businesses promise to provide a protective space for people as they wait for police.
"I think it’s a natural decision, if you think of Starbucks' mission statement, it's to inspire and nurture the human spirit," said Starbucks regional manager Tim Debenko. "This is at our core, and that’s to create an inclusive environment that is safe and welcoming, and everyone belongs."
The city stresses specially trained employees can provide emotional support and say employees will not physically confront a suspect.
San Jose police are encouraging other businesses to join the program.