PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The FBI is trying to stop hate nationwide.
The FBI has launched a campaign urging people to report hate crimes. FBI Pittsburgh has posted ads on buses, social media and in local newspapers to raise awareness and encourage victims to come forward.READ MORE: West Virginia Lawmaker Craig Blair Compares Federal COVID-19 Vaccine Rule To Nazi Germany
“This has got to stop,” said Shawn Brokos, community security director for the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh Community. “This is not Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh is no place for hate.”
The FBI’s ads say “help us stop the hate,” with a phone number and web address to report hate crimes. The FBI investigates hundreds of cases every year but believes many are not reported.
According to 2020 FBI hate crime stats, 324 hate crimes were reported in Pennsylvania based on data from about 3,000 law enforcement agencies. Two-hundred-thirty-six were related to one’s race, ethnicity or ancestry while 52 were based on religion.
“We want to increase the reporting to law enforcement, to us in particular, so we have the ability to reach out to these communities that feel they are targets to these hate crimes and help bring some closure to them,” FBI Supervisory Special Agent Tim Swanson said.READ MORE: Biden Administration Says It Has Enough COVID-19 Vaccine Supply To Vaccinate 28 Million Kids Ages 5-11
“Our two largest categories where we see hate crimes occur are bias against race, ethnicity, ancestry and also religion,” Swanson added. “Those accompany about 75 percent of the cases.”
The FBI said Black or African American and Jewish people are targeted the most, with many incidents happening on the street or in someone’s home.
“It may not seem significant, but if you are one of many people having this problem, it helps law enforcement build a better case and figure out exactly what we can do to educate this individual or apprehend them,” Brokos said.
Brokos said more Jewish people are becoming victims of hate crimes. She added that last week, a man was arrested and charged for verbally assaulting Jewish people.
“Year to date, we’ve had 66 anti-Semitic incidents reported to us,” Brokos said. “That covers the greater Pittsburgh area. That far surpasses the 44 anti-Semitic incidents we had reported to us last year.”
The FBI said it is important to report any incident to the local or state authorities and FBI. The FBI hopes this will eventually help build trust within communities and stop the hate.MORE NEWS: Pitt Could Soon Announce Interim Policy Requiring COVID-19 Vaccinations
If you or someone you know has been the target of a hate crime, call the FBI at 1-800-CALL-FBI. You can also submit an anonymous tip online at tips.fbi.gov.