Follow CBSMIAMI.COM: Facebook | Twitter

FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) — The Fort Lauderdale Police Department is launching a new safety program called “The Bar Watch” designed to protect potential victims of sexual assault.

READ MORE: Postal Worker Shot At In Florida City; Suspect In Custody

Sexual assaults often begin in an establishment where alcohol is being consumed and or illegal drugs become involved.

“We saw a pattern where a lot of these incidents of reported sexual batteries, at least the contact between the victim and the suspect initiated in an establishment where alcohol is served,” said Fort Lauderdale PD Chief, Rick Maglione.

The Bar Watch program is a network of local restaurants, bar staff, and police officers, trained to detect and deescalate situations that could result in sexual assault.

READ MORE: Double Shooting Investigated In NW Miami

“Obviously, nothing replaces common sense. You’re not supposed to leave your drink unattended.”

Participating locations will display the Bar Watch decal so customers can feel safer knowing someone is watching.

(Source: Fort Lauderdale PD)

Click here to learn which establishments have joined the Bar Watch program.

MORE NEWS: Here's How Royal Caribbean Will Deal With Vaccinated, Unvaccinated Passengers

Police also have these tips to help reduce the risk of sexual assault.

  • Travel in a group and leave together
  • Trust your instincts. If a situation feels unsafe, it probably is
  • Keep your cell phone accessible and fully charged
  • Be aware of your surroundings
  • Don’t feel obligated to do something that makes you uncomfortable
  • Never leave your drink unattended