San Francisco, California - The San Francisco Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is announcing a new strategy to identify and investigate hate crimes in Northern California.
A hate crime is defined as a violent criminal act against a person or property motivated in whole or in part by an offender’s bias against a race, ethnicity, religion, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, gender, or gender identity. Hate crimes are often underreported to both federal and local law enforcement.
“We understand that some individuals may be afraid to come forward to law enforcement,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Craig Fair. “I want to assure the community that the FBI works to protect all victims of crimes, regardless of their country of national origin or immigration status. Acts of hate and racism have no place here and will not be tolerated.”
“FBI San Francisco is surging our resources to combat hate crimes, and we will use all authority granted to us by federal law to investigate civil rights violations,” said FBI Assistant Special Agent in Charge Sid Patel. “I urge members of our community to report any hate incidents to local or federal law enforcement so we can bring offenders to justice.” “The FBI’s robust strategy to identify and investigate hate crimes in Northern California demonstrates, once again, the agency’s longstanding commitment to civil rights enforcement,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Stephanie M. Hinds. “We applaud and support these efforts and will continue to coordinate closely with the FBI in this vital enforcement area. In addition, we will do our part to ensure all federal law enforcement components are using the available tools to prosecute and bring to justice anyone who violates the hate crime statutes, and will vigorously enforce the federal civil rights laws.”
The FBI San Francisco Division’s strategy to combat hate crimes includes federal investigative activity, law enforcement partner coordination, community outreach, and public awareness:
Increase FBI Investigative Activity
- FBI San Francisco is actively enhancing its existing investigative resources to investigate federal hate crimes. The division has experienced, specialized FBI special agent hate crime coordinators who are training more special agents to conduct hate crime and civil rights investigations. These special agents will also conduct outreach to community groups to spread awareness, build trust, and encourage additional reporting of hate crimes to the FBI.
Improve Law Enforcement Coordination
- FBI special agents are actively working with local and state law enforcement partners and tribal authorities throughout Northern California to offer assistance and training on federal hate crime statutes. FBI San Francisco is encouraging law enforcement partners to refer possible federal hate crime cases to the FBI. In many instances, federal investigations may run parallel to and in coordination with local law enforcement investigations of violations of California state hate crime laws.
- The FBI works closely with state, local, and tribal authorities on investigations, even when federal charges are not brought. FBI resources, forensic expertise, and experience in identification and proof of hate-based motivations often provide an invaluable complement to local law enforcement hate crime cases. Many cases are also prosecuted under other state statutes such as murder, arson, or more recent local ethnic intimidation laws.
Increase Community Outreach
- FBI San Francisco has been rapidly increasing outreach efforts to minority associations, religious organizations, and community groups to promote cooperation and reduce civil rights abuses. Transparency and trust are fundamental to increase the reporting of hate crime incidents to law enforcement.
Launch Public Awareness Campaign
- The FBI is encouraging the reporting of all incidents of bias and hate by expanding public education and outreach. FBI San Francisco has launched a social media awareness campaign and currently is running an advertisement on a San Francisco Muni train to encourage the public to report hate crimes to the FBI. Members of the public can report information on tips.fbi.gov in any language.
The FBI is the lead investigative agency for criminal violations of federal civil rights statutes. The Bureau works closely with its 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. The Bureau investigates hundreds of these cases every year, and we work to detect and prevent incidents through law enforcement training, public outreach, and partnerships with community groups.