BALTIMORE, MD—The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Baltimore Field Office this week announced the launch of 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”.
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:
- National origin
- Gender identity
- Sexual orientation
Citizens are encouraged to report potential federal hate crime violations by contacting the national tipline at 1-800-CALL-FBI or online at https://tips.fbi.gov.