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FBI Baltimore Launches Hate Crimes Awareness Campaign | Federal Bureau of Investigation

BALTIMORE, MD—Hate crimes are the highest priority of the FBI’s civil rights program because of the devastating impact they have on families and communities. Hate crimes are not only an attack on the victim—they are meant to threaten and intimidate an entire community. We know that, historically, hate crimes are underreported. To help our community recognize the importance of the issue and to encourage people to report incidents to law enforcement, FBI Baltimore is launching a hate crimes awareness campaign throughout Maryland and Delaware.

“Over the last five years, there’s been a 25 percent increase in reported hate crimes, even still, the vast majority of these crimes are going underreported and that needs to change. The FBI can help, but only if we know about the crime. That’s why we are spreading the word with this campaign,” said Thomas J. Sobocinski, special agent in charge of the FBI Baltimore Field Office. “Violent acts motivated by hate have no place in our society. Every person has the right to live without fear of violence or intimidation and we will continue to hold those accountable whose hate-filled aggression violates the civil rights of another individual.”

The FBI has been coordinating efforts with various leaders within diverse communities to identify and engage vulnerable populations through the channels and platforms that are most effective for any given organization. The campaign also includes paid advertising:

  • Digital billboards (by Lamar) running in Silver Spring, Maryland, and Wilmington, Delaware
  • Bus Ads (MTA and Ride On) in Baltimore City and Montgomery County
  • Radio Ads (in English and Spanish—La Raza(AM/FM)/Maxima 95.3/Maxima 104.1/ Streaming platforms – Audacy/Pandora/SiriusXM/iHeartRadio)
  • BWI Digital Ads
  • Social Media Ads (Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter)
  • Flyers at Local Markets

This Maryland/Delaware effort ties with a national FBI awareness campaign that hopes to drive education efforts and increase reporting: “Protecting Our Communities Together: Report Hate Crimes”.

We are asking people to report potential federal hate crime violations by contacting us at one of the national tipline options: 1-800-CALL-FBI or tips.fbi.gov.

2020 Hate Crime Statistics

The FBI recently released the 2020 Hate Crime Report as part of its Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program. In Maryland, 152 of 153 agencies voluntarily submitted data for this current 2020 report. The UCR program specifically defines a hate crime as a criminal offense motivated, in whole or in part, by the offender’s bias or biases against a race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity, gender, or gender identity. In Maryland, there were 40 single bias incidents reported in 2020, and 19 single bias incidents reported in 2019. In Maryland, there were 49 reported victims in 2020, and 21 reported victims in 2019. (Note: These victim numbers include both single bias and multiple bias incidents.) Nationally, there were 7,554 single bias incidents reported in 2020, and 7,081 single bias incidents reported in 2019. Nationally, there were 10,528 reported victims in 2020, and 8,812 reported victims in 2019. (Note: These victim numbers represent single bias incidents.)

Key Takeaways from 2020 Hate Crimes Report

The bias motivator in about 68% of Maryland incidents were race/ethnicity/ancestry. Victims perceived as Black were the racial group targeted most frequently. Religion was the motivator in about 13% of cases. Victims perceived as Jewish were the religious group targeted most frequently. Sexual orientation was the motivator in about 18% of reported Maryland incidents. Gender identity was the motivator in about 3% of reported Maryland incidents. Raw UCR reporting is available on FBI.gov and through the FBI’s Crime Data Explorer.

FBI Role in Investigating Hate Crimes

There are a number of federal laws that give the FBI the ability to investigate hate crimes. Those laws generally require some kind of criminal act AND a finding that the person committing the act did so because he/she was motivated by bias. The criminal act can include offenses such as murder, assault, arson, and it generally requires the use or threat of force or violence. For an incident to qualify as a federal hate crime, the subject(s) must have acted wholly or in part based on the victim’s actual or perceived status. This is generally consistent with state law. Under federal law, bias motivators include:

  • Race
  • Ethnicity
  • National origin
  • Disability
  • Religion
  • Gender
  • Gender identity
  • Sexual orientation

Anyone who has information about or believes they are a victim of a federal hate crime should contact the FBI by phone at 1-800-CALL-FBI or online at tips.fbi.gov.

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