The Federal Bureau of Investigation is engaged in a nationwide effort to build public awareness of hate crimes and encourage reporting to law enforcement, according to a June 30 news release.

“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 news release states. “Hate crimes are not only an attack on the victim – they are meant to threaten and intimidate an entire community.”

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 in many of these cases, even when federal charges are not pursued, according to the release.

The FBI also works to detect and prevent incidents through law enforcement training, public outreach and partnerships with community groups.

“Hate crimes are the top priority within the FBI’s Civil Rights Program, due to the devastating impact these types of crimes have on communities. One act can terrorize entire communities and groups of people,” FBI Associate Deputy Director Jeffrey Sallet said in the release. “There’s simply no place in this country for hate and intolerance. We in the FBI stand ready to use all the tools at our disposal to reduce the threat of hate crimes and fulfill our mission to protect every American.”

The FBI defines a hate crime as a “criminal offense against a person or property motivated in whole or in part by an offender’s bias against a race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity, gender or gender identity,” according to the release.

The FBI works to protect all victims of crimes, regardless of their country of national origin or immigration status, according to the release.

After a crime report is submitted, the FBI will work with its law enforcement partners and use its resources and expertise to determine if an incident meets the criminal standard, the release said.

Victims of hate crimes are encouraged to report them to the FBI by calling 1-800-CALL-FBI or by submitting a tip at tips.fbi.gov. Tipsters may remain anonymous, according to the release.

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