FBI Phoenix Launches Hate Crime Reporting Campaign

Hate crimes are the highest priority of the FBI’s civil rights program because of the devastating impact they have on families and communities. We know that, historically, hate crimes are underreported. To help our community recognize the importance of the issue and to encourage people to report incidents to law enforcement, the FBI in Phoenix is launching a hate crimes awareness campaign throughout the state.

The FBI continues to coordinate with local leaders from diverse communities to make sure these crimes are being reported. The campaign also includes paid advertising with:

  • Billboards (Lamar and OUTFRONT) in Phoenix and Yuma
  • Gila River Arena
  • Radio ads (KTAR and KTNN/ Streaming platforms- Audacy, Pandora, iHeartRadio)
  • Airport Advertising at TUC and FLG airports
  • Newspaper web ads (AZCentral, The Daily Independent, AZ Daily Star, and the AZ Daily Sun)
  • Social Media Ads (Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter)

This Arizona effort ties with a national FBI awareness campaign that hopes to drive education efforts and increase reporting: “Protecting Our Communities Together: Report Hate Crimes.”

We are asking people to report potential federal hate crime violations by contacting us at one of the national tipline options: 1-800-CALL-FBI or tips.fbi.gov.

2020 Hate Crime Statistics

The FBI recently released the 2020 Hate Crimes Report as part of its Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program. In Arizona, 81 of 125 agencies voluntarily submitted data for this current 2020 report. The UCR program specifically defines a hate crime as a criminal offense motivated, in whole or in part, by the offender’s bias or biases against a race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity, gender, or gender identity. In Arizona, there were 282 single bias incidents reported in 2020, and 209 single bias incidents reported in 2019. Nationally, there were 7,554 single bias incidents reported in 2020, and 7,081 single bias incidents reported in 2019.

Key Takeaways from 2020 Hate Crimes Report

The bias motivator in about 70% of Arizona incidents were race/ethnicity/ancestry. Victims perceived as Black were the racial group targeted most frequently. Religion was the motivator in about 13% of cases. Victims perceived as Jewish were the religious group targeted most frequently. Sexual orientation was the motivator in about 12% of reported Arizona incidents.

FBI Role in Investigating 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:

  • Race
  • Ethnicity
  • National origin
  • Disability
  • Religion
  • Gender
  • Gender identity
  • Sexual orientation

Anyone who has information about or believes they are a victim of a federal hate crime should contact the FBI by phone at 1-800-CALL-FBI or online at tips.fbi.gov.

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