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FBI launches hate crime reporting campaign

After a spike in hate crimes last year, the agency kicks off its San Diego Hate Crimes reporting campaign this week with the goal of better educating the public.

SAN DIEGO — In an effort to push more people to report hate crimes, the FBI is taking their message to the streets literally by putting their public service announcements up on buses, at bus stops and on social media.

"We find that people are not reporting these crimes for a variety of reasons,” said San Diego FBI special agent William McNamara.

To encourage San Diegans to report a hate crime, the FBI launched its "Hate Crimes Reporting Campaign" to spread awareness.

"The ads are out in multiple languages and in multiple formats, we are in print media and digital media. The bus ads and the transit shelters all with a goal of getting people to report hate crimes,” McNamara said.

On the bottom of the ads, not only is there a phone number and website to contact the FBI, there is also a QR code in the corner that goes directly to the FBI tip site, so anyone can enter information and report the crime.

McNamara says all 56 FBI field offices kicked off this campaign to last through the end of the year since many people may not what defines a hate crime.

"Hate crimes are traditional offenses such as murder, arson or vandalism with that added element of bias,” McNamara said.

Those bias motivations include disability, gender identity religion, gender, sexual orientation, race and ethnicity.  FBI stats from 2020 show over 7,500 single bias incidents involving over 10,000 victims. Hate crimes against the AAPI community also shot up last year.

McNamara says much goes into hesitancy in reporting.

"Maybe they do not understand what they witnessed or what has happened to them as a hate crime. two, maybe they are hesitant to report that they've been victimized by a hate crime, or three, it could be a lack of trust with law-enforcement that nothing would be done,” McNamara said.

To reach diverse communities, the PSAs are spread throughout San Diego County in multiple languages.

“We wanted to maximize our exposure, so the buses would be moving target on different routes moving throughout the city. We have also placed ads and smaller local periodicals to target different populations,” McNamara said.

WATCH: Jessica Sanchez | Raising awareness of Asian hate crimes (April 2021)

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