FBI Seattle Encourages Washington State to Report Hate Crimes
SEATTLE, WA—Together with FBI headquarters and field offices throughout the nation, the FBI Seattle Field Office is engaged in a multifaceted statewide effort to build public awareness of hate crimes and encourage reporting to law enforcement. The strategy includes a public awareness campaign, community and media outreach, and law enforcement coordination.
The FBI is the lead investigative agency for criminal violations of federal civil rights statutes. Hate crimes, defined as a traditional offense with an added element of bias, 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, but hate crimes are often underreported to both federal and local law enforcement.
“The FBI cannot do our work without the public’s help,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Donald M. Voiret. “We encourage people to report any behavior they think might be a hate crime, even if they are unsure. Give law enforcement the opportunity to conduct a thorough, fair review of the facts to figure out if an incident was truly motivated by bias.”
Public Awareness Campaign Launch
FBI Seattle has launched a social media awareness campaign on @FBISeattle and currently is running advertisements at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport and on Seattle public transit, including buses and trains, to encourage the public to report hate crimes to the FBI.
Community & Media Outreach
FBI Seattle’s Citizens Academy, which began last week and runs through September 16, includes a civil rights presentation and discussion between FBI personnel and participants who live, work, volunteer, and attend school in our area of responsibility. This yearly 6-week program gives community members an inside look at the FBI and a chance to interact personally with their local FBI office. Learn more about FBI Seattle’s Community Outreach program, including how to request an FBI Seattle speaker on a variety of topics, including hate crimes.
Additionally, last month, FBI Seattle hosted an on-the-record event for our local media outlets to discuss how Washington State law enforcement partners work together to investigate and prosecute incidents possibly motivated by bias.
Law Enforcement Coordination
The FBI works closely with state, local, and tribal authorities on investigations, even when federal charges are not brought. FBI Seattle actively participates in the King County Hate Crimes Working Group with multiple federal and local partner agencies. 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 assault. FBI Seattle and the U.S. Attorney’s Office both have experienced, specialized civil rights coordinators.
If you or someone you know are in immediate danger, call 911. If you believe you have been the target or victim of a hate crime or other civil rights violation, contact the FBI at 1-800-CALL-FBI (225-5324) or the FBI Seattle Division at 206-622-0460 or submit a tip online at https://tips.fbi.gov. Tips can remain anonymous and can be made in an individual’s native language.
The FBI works to protect all victims of crimes, regardless of their country of national origin or immigration status. The FBI encourages victims and witnesses of any hate-related incident to report it to law enforcement. After a 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.
- FBI Civil Rights webpage
- Hate Crime Statistics
- FBI Victim Services Division
- U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division
FBI Seattle is one of 56 FBI field offices located in major U.S. cities with 9 satellite offices called resident agencies in Washington state. The mission of the FBI is to protect the American people and uphold the Constitution of the United States. For more information, visit www.fbi.gov or www.fbi.gov/contact-us/field-offices/seattle.