The FBI Pittsburgh field office, together with FBI headquarters and field offices throughout the nation, is engaged in a multifaceted statewide effort to build public awareness of hate crimes and encourage reporting to law enforcement. The strategy includes a public awareness campaign, community and media outreach, and law enforcement coordination, an FBI statement said.
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 statement said. The bureau investigates hundreds of these cases every year, but hate crimes are often underreported to both federal and local law enforcement.
“We’re very concerned about the lack of reporting when it comes to hate crimes,” said FBI Pittsburgh Special Agent in Charge Mike Nordwall in the written statement. “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.”
Public Awareness Campaign Launch
The FBI Pittsburgh Division has launched a social media awareness campaign on @FBIPittsburgh’s Twitter page and the FBI Facebook account. Advertisements are also running in numerous local newspapers and on Pittsburgh public transit, including buses, to encourage the public to report hate crimes to the FBI.
The FBI works closely with state, local, and tribal authorities on investigations, even when federal charges are not brought. FBI Pittsburgh actively participates in the Civil Rights Working Group with multiple federal, state, and local partner agencies. 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 or someone you know are in immediate danger, call 911. 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. The FBI says it works to protect all victims of crimes, regardless of their country of national origin or immigration status. The FBI encourages victims and witnesses of any hate-related incident to report it to law enforcement. After a report is submitted, the FBI will work with its law enforcement partners and use its resources and expertise to determine if an incident meets the criminal standard, the statement said.