GRAND FORKS — On a hot summer afternoon, people are shopping at Northern Roots Boutique in Grand Forks, and they may have noticed something new in stock.
"I am honored that my business is one of the ones in the community where people can come in and feel safe," said owner Kay Derry.
Her business is a Safe Place.
"Just because we live in a smaller community doesn't mean it doesn't happen, we know it does happen," said Derry.
The sticker in the window means anyone is welcomed to enter the business to report a crime. It's part of a new initiative by GFPD.
'"We don't know what we don't know, we want people to report crimes," said Grand Forks police sergeant Kris Brown.
The program focuses mainly on hate crimes. However, any crime can be reported. GFPD knows not everyone may feel comfortable reporting a crime at the police station.
"Maybe they feel comfortable going to their local Starbucks, because that is what they do on a daily basis, they can meet up with a friend, it's giving them another venue to feel comfortable in to report," explained Brown.
So far nearly a dozen businesses have signed up for the program. Employees at each business are given instructions on what to do if someone comes in to report a crime. The employee won't investigate the crime, but will work with the person in need to have police come to the business.
"They are hoping it never happens, which I am too, but it's going to happen someday and I want to be ahead of it," said Derry. "The more of us that can team up is best for the community."
Businesses can call Officer Samson at the Grand Forks police department to sign up.