EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — The FBI El Paso Division is urging the public to report hate crimes.
A hate crime is a violent criminal act against a person or property that is motivated in whole, or in part, by an offender’s bias based on race, ethnicity, religion, national origin, disability, sexuality, gender, or gender identity. Hate crimes are often underreported at both the federal and local law enforcement levels.
“We understand that some individuals may be afraid to come forward to law enforcement,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Jeffrey Downey. “I want to assure the community that the FBI works to protect all victims of crimes, regardless of their race, ethnicity, religion, disability, sexual orientation, gender, or gender identity, country of national origin or immigration status. Acts of hate and racism have no place here and will not be tolerated,” he adds.
The FBI El Paso Division, together with the FBI headquarters and field offices across the nation, are part of a multifaceted effort to enhance public awareness of hate crimes and encourage reporting to law enforcement.
The strategy features a public awareness campaign, community and media outreach, and coordination with law enforcement.
The FBI El Paso launched a social media awareness campaign and is also running ads around the Borderland and Midland / Odessa region to encourage the public to report hate crimes to the FBI.
Reports may be made in any language.
The FBI El Paso will also host on-the-record events for local press and participate in regional podcasts and radio interviews to explain how West Texas law enforcement partners work in coordination to investigate and prosecute incidents potentially motivated by bias and hate.
Community Outreach Specialists working with the FBI are bolstering outreach efforts to minority associations, religious organizations, and community groups to promote communication, education, and heightened reporting regarding hate crimes and civil rights violations.
The community may reach out to request presentations, virtual “Meet and Greets”, or educational materials.
The FBI is the head investigative agency related to criminal violations of federal civil rights laws. The Bureau works with local, state, tribal, and federal law enforcement partners across the country to investigate many of these cases.
Officials say hate crimes are the FBI Civil Rights program’s highest priority because of the devastating impact that these crimes have on families and communities.
The Bureau investigates hundreds of these cases annually, while also working to detect and prevent hate crimes through law enforcement training, public outreach, and partnerships with community groups.
“The FBI cannot do our work without the public’s help. We encourage people to report any behavior they think might be a hate crime, even if they are unsure, to our office at (915) 832-5000,” says Downey. “Give law enforcement the opportunity to conduct a thorough, fair review of the facts.”
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 El Paso Division at (915)-832-5000 or submit a tip online.
Officials add that tips can remain anonymous and can be made in an individual’s native language.
For those that may be a member of an impacted community and would like to engage with the FBI in this critical work, the FBI community outreach team can be reached at email@example.com.