Announcing a public education campaign in Albuquerque Wednesday are, from left, FBI Special Agent in Charge Raul Bujanda, Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller, City Councilor Lan Sena, and Albuquerque NAACP President Harold Bailey. Photo Courtesy FBI
FBI NEWS RELEASE
The Albuquerque FBI Division has started a public education campaign designed to encourage victims and witnesses of hate crimes in New Mexico to report them to law enforcement. The motto of the campaign is: “Stop the Hate – Be Heard – Report Now.”
A key component of that campaign was announced at a news conference Wednesday: three Albuquerque public transit buses will have information prominently displayed on their exteriors encouraging victims and witnesses of hate crimes to report them to the FBI. The buses with the ads will circulate around the metro area for six months.
“The FBI is ready to use all the tools at our disposal to protect the rights of each and every American, regardless of their country of origin or immigration status,” Special Agent in Charge Raul Bujanda said.
On the buses will be a tip line that anyone can use to report hate crimes quickly and easily to the FBI: tips.fbi.gov. The public also can call the FBI toll free 24/7: 1-800-CALL-FBI.
SAC Bujanda was joined in the announcement by acting U.S. Attorney Fred Federici for the District of New Mexico, Mayor Tim Keller, Police Chief Harold Medina, City Councilor Lan Sena representing the Asian-American community, Dr. Harold Bailey, president of the Albuquerque NAACP, and John Moya, director of the League of United Latin American Citizens National Education Service Center in Albuquerque.
The FBI last week released hate crime statistics for 2020. Law enforcement agencies in New Mexico reported 55 hate crime incidents last year, up from 50 incidents reported the year before.
“And while that might sound like a lot, we have a hunch that not every hate crime is being reported,” SAC Bujanda said.
The Albuquerque FBI Division has given several media interviews and posted numerous messages on its Twitter site with information on hate crimes – including how to find out what a hate crime is. The field office has established a Civil Rights Working Group that is bringing law enforcement and community groups together to explore how we can work together to combat hate crimes and other violations. And more outreach projects are in the works.
The FBI, the lead investigative agency for hate crimes and other criminal violations of federal civil rights statutes, works closely with local, state, tribal, and federal law enforcement partners around the country in many of these cases. Hate crimes are the highest priority of the FBI’s civil rights program because of the devastating impact they have on families and communities.
New Mexico made history by being the first state to have defendants charged under the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr., Hate Crimes Prevention Act more than a decade ago. Traditionally, FBI investigations of hate crimes were limited to crimes in which the perpetrators acted based on a bias against the victim’s race, color, religion, or national origin. In addition, investigations were restricted to those wherein the victim was engaged in a federally protected activity.
With the passage of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr., Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009, the Bureau became authorized to also investigate crimes committed against those based on biases of actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, or gender. The FBI investigates hundreds of hate crime cases across the country every year, but these crimes are often under-reported to both federal and local law enforcement.
“If you have been the victim of a hate crime, know that we really do care about what happened to you – and we want to do something about it,” SAC Bujanda said. “There is no place in New Mexico for hate and intolerance.”
More information on hate crimes can be found at: https://www.fbi.gov/investigate/civil-rights/hate-crimes