The FBI Washington Field Office has launched a Hate Crimes Awareness Campaign as part of a nationwide effort to build public awareness of hate crimes and encourage reporting to law enforcement. The campaign features advertisements on Metro and Metrobuses, as well as in gas stations, on social media, and in publications throughout the National Capital Region encouraging members of our communities to report hate crimes to the FBI.
Hate crimes are the highest priority of the FBI’s civil rights program because of the devastating impact they have on families and communities. The FBI defines a hate crime as a “criminal offense against a person or property motivated in whole or in part by an offender’s bias against a race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity, gender, or gender identity.” Hate crimes are not only an attack on the victim—they are meant to threaten and intimidate an entire community.
“All too often, hate crimes go unreported to law enforcement,” said Wayne A. Jacobs, special agent in charge of the FBI Washington Field Office Criminal Division. “No one should be afraid to be targeted by violence based on how they look, where they’re from, or their identity. There’s simply no place for hate and intolerance in our communities, and we need the public’s help to deter people from committing these heinous crimes and bringing them to justice if they do.”
The FBI is the lead investigative agency for criminal violations of federal civil rights statutes. The Bureau works closely with its local, state, tribal, and federal law enforcement partners in many of these cases, even when federal charges are not pursued. The FBI also works to detect and prevent incidents through law enforcement training, public outreach, and partnerships with community groups.
The FBI 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.