FBI Portland Encourages Oregonians to Report Hate Crimes
FBI PORTLAND ENCOURAGES OREGONIANS TO REPORT FEDERAL HATE CRIMES
November 14th, 2023
PORTLAND – The Portland Division of the FBI is joining the FBI’s nationwide efforts to increase awareness about hate crimes and encourage reporting of hate incidents with advertising campaign across Oregon. The campaign, which began on November 6, includes billboards in Medford, Eugene, Corvallis, as well as static and digital displays reaching thousands of passengers daily at Portland International Airport.
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 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.
The FBI is the lead investigative agency for criminal violations of federal civil rights statutes and works closely with local, state, tribal, and other federal law enforcement partners in many of these cases, even when federal charges are not pursued.
“Violent acts motivated by hate are unacceptable in our communities. Sadly though, the amount of hate crimes reported here in Oregon has doubled from what it was just five years ago. Even still, the vast majority of these crimes are going underreported and that needs to change. That’s why we are spreading the word with this campaign,” said Kieran L. Ramsey, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Portland Field Office. “The FBI serves to safeguard against hate and violence, but we can only do so if we know about any such threats or violent actions. Every person has the right to live without fear of violence or intimidation. The FBI and our law enforcement partners will continue to hold those accountable whose hate-filled aggression violates the civil rights of others.”
This Oregon effort ties with a national FBI awareness campaign that hopes to drive education efforts and increase reporting: “Protecting Our Communities Together: Report Hate Crimes”.
2022 Hate Crime Statistics
The FBI recently released the 2022 Hate Crime Report as part of its Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program. In Oregon, 212 of 236 agencies voluntarily submitted data for this current 2022 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 Oregon, there were 290 single bias incidents reported in 2022, and 287 single bias incidents reported in 2021. In Oregon, there were 428 reported victims in 2022, and 377 reported victims in 2021. (Note: These victim numbers include both single bias and multiple bias incidents.) Nationally, there were over 11,000 single-bias hate crime incidents involving 13,278 victims and 346 multiple-bias hate crime incidents that involved 433 victims. In 2022, the top three bias categories in single-bias incidents were race/ethnicity/ancestry, religion, and sexual-orientation. The top bias types within those bias categories by volume of reported hate crime incidents is Anti-Black or African American for race/ethnicity/ancestry bias, Anti-Jewish for religious bias, and Anti-Gay (male) for sexual-orientation bias.
Key Takeaways from 2022 Hate Crimes Report
The bias motivator in about 60% of Oregon incidents were race/ethnicity/ancestry. Victims perceived as Black were the racial group targeted most frequently. Religion was the motivator in about 10% of cases. Victims perceived as Jewish were the religious group targeted most frequently. Sexual orientation was the motivator in about 18% of reported Oregon incidents. Raw UCR reporting is available on FBI.gov and through the FBI’s Crime Data Explorer.
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:
- National origin
- 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.