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, the FBI in Oregon is launching a hate crimes awareness campaign. This campaign starts September 1st.
“Those who traffic in hate target the most vulnerable in our community based on how they look, what they believe, and who they love. The FBI has an important role in investigating these cases, but we know that we need help from our community partners both to encourage victims to come forward and to help identify these criminals,” said Kieran L. Ramsey, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in Oregon.
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 and Pacific Outdoor) running in Beaverton, Clackamas, Milwaukie, Salem, Corvallis, and Medford.
- Bus benches (Tri-Met) in Portland
- Radio ads (Jam’n 107.5 and Z100)
- TV ads (Univision/KUNP)
- Web ads
- Social media ads (Facebook, Instagram and Twitter)
This Oregon 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
This week, the FBI released the 2020 Hate Crime Report as part of its Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program. In Oregon, 207 of 234 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 Oregon, there were 271 single bias incidents reported in 2020, and 170 single bias incidents reported in 2019. In Oregon, there were 360 reported victims in 2020, and 242 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 70% of Oregon incidents was race/ethnicity/ancestry. Victims perceived as Black were the racial group targeted most frequently.
Religion was the motivator in about 10% of cases. Victims perceived as Jewish were the religious group targeted most frequently.
Sexual orientation was the motivator in about 10% of reported Oregon incidents.
Gender identity was the motivator in about 3% of reported Oregon incidents.
FBI Role in Investigating Hate Crimes
There are a number of federal laws that give 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:
- National origin
- 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.