Hate Crimes Inflict Fear Among Citizens’ Help FBI to Stop Them

By Mike Nordwall, Special Agent in Charge
FBI Pittsburgh Field Office, Pittsburgh,

The number of people reporting they’ve been a victim of a hate crime in Pennsylvania nearly doubled between 2019 and 2020 according to the FBI’s annual hate crime statistics report. That;s why the FBI Pittsburgh Field Office is engaged in a multifaceted statewide effort to build public awareness of hate crimes and encourage reporting to law enforcement.

The FBI is the lead investigative agency for criminal violations of federal civil rights statutes. Hate crimes, defined as a traditional offense with an added element of bias, are the highest priority of the FBI’s civil rights program because of the devastating impact they have on families and communities. The Bureau investigates hundreds of these cases every year, but hate crimes are often underreported to both federal and local law enforcement

At the FBI, we are very concerned about the lack of reporting when it comes to hate crimes. We want the community to know we are here for them. This campaign is a way to enhance collaboration between the FBI and our local and state partners, not just in law enforcement, but with the many community groups who work and see victims on a daily basis that are too scared to report the crime. The more information we can get from the community, the more trust each side will earn, and we’ll all be better able to attack the problem head on.

Hate crimes are not only an attack on the victim, they threaten and intimidate an entire community. The FBI works closely with state, local, and tribal authorities on investigations, even when federal charges are not brought. FBI resources, forensic expertise and experience in identification and proof of hate-based motivations often provide an invaluable complement to local law enforcement hate crime cases.

If you believe you have been the target or victim of a hate crime or other civil rights violation, contact the FBI at 1-800-CALL-FBI (225-5324) or the FBI Pittsburgh at (412) 432-4000 or submit a tip online at https://tips.fbi.gov. Tips can remain anonymous and can be made in an individual’s native language. — END


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