FBI Encouraging Public To Report Hate Crimes
SALT LAKE CITY – As reports of possible hate crimes are rising across the country and here in Utah, federal and local law enforcement are urging the public to report possible hate crimes.
They’re sending the message that people should not feel afraid to call and report possible crimes.
Even though they don’t have specific numbers, Utah’s FBI office said at least anecdotally they have seen an increase in hate crimes being reported.
While it’s often hard to know if they’ll be convicted as such, they want a chance to look into those incidents.
“We’re letting people know that we’re here and that we care about what happens to them, and that we want them to know that we want to make every effort we can to protect their rights, especially if they’re being targeted for some kind of protected class that they represent,” said Dustin Grant, FBI supervisory special agent.
Take a look at our recent news coverage and it appears there’s been at least a slight increase in the number of potential hate crimes being reported.
Law enforcement is noticing it too.
“I just know nationally that there is an uptick,” Grant said. “Personally, we have seen just with our own handling of these cases, we are seeing more reporting of it.”
Grant said the FBI has created an agency-wide outreach for people who might be experiencing hate.
“So we’re doing efforts to push and educate that you can report anonymously,” Grant said. “You can also have people report on your behalf. Sometimes we get cases or referrals from the media, or groups that represent these individuals.”
We’ve seen examples just this week — swastikas and disparaging messages spray-painted over a Black Lives Matter sign in a Logan parking stall or a man Cottonwood Heights police said has been taken into custody after being accused of threatening violence against Asian business owners.
“Fundamentally, there’s three victims whenever there’s a hate crime in our community,” said Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill. “The person who the crime happens against they’re immediately targeted, the community that that person belongs to — it sends a chilling effect — and that’s what really makes hate crimes really insidious.”
Gill said when those attacked don’t find justice, we fail as a community.
The FBI does have a website and hotline where potential hate crimes can be reported, even anonymously.
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