The Safe Haven Program Guidelines for Participating Businesses
As a designated Safe Haven, your business is entering into a partnership with the Chicago Police Department, Allstate, the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, community residents and other neighborhood stakeholders designed to help improve the quality of life throughout the City’s neighborhoods. Becoming part of this dynamic partnership will benefit your business, your neighborhood, and your customers.
The responsibilities associated with becoming a Safe Haven are not extensive. Once you place the Safe Haven logo in your window, you let members of the community know that your business is ready to provide assistance during an emergency or in a time of distress. Ideally, the target groups that would take advantage of this service are children, senior citizens or other residents needing help in a crisis. Participating in the Safe Haven program also tells residents that you and your business are interested in working with other residents and stakeholders to maintain the quality of life in your neighborhood.
The level of assistance that you provide can vary, but at a minimum two basic services are necessary. First, as a Safe Haven, your primary responsibility is to act as a protected environment for a person in distress. An elderly resident who may have overexerted his or herself may come into your business and need to rest. You need only provide a place for them to wait until they feel able to continue.
Secondly, it may be necessary to place a call for the person in distress. If a child is walking down the street and sees a suspicious character or notices that someone is following them, they know that your business will serve as a temporary shelter until a parent or guardian can be called. A call to 911 to report the suspicious activity, a call to the child’s home or school and providing comfort to the child until assistance arrives is all you need do in this situation. A list of emergency and non-emergency numbers for such a situations is provided in your Safe Haven participation packet.
Whether you encounter a medical emergency or a child fleeing from an offender, most calls would likely be to 911, but a person in distress may request that you place a call to a private number. This instance may be necessary at times, such as when a child is lost and wants to contact their parents at home.
To minimize any abuse of the Safe Haven system, it is necessary to assist only those people that are actually in a state of distress. This condition may be difficult to ascertain, so we suggest that you use your best judgment. A resident may enter your business and request to place a call that appears to be purely personal in nature under the guise of an emergency. This situation needs to be avoided. To that end, we recommend that you or an employee place any calls for people in distress whether they be to 911, parents, or any other emergency number.
If you have any questions about becoming a Safe Haven or how your business can more effectively participate in community policing efforts in your neighborhood, please call the Office of Community Policing at (312) 745-5900.