SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — The FBI unveiled a new strategy Thursday to counter a stunning surge in San Francisco Bay Area hate crimes, particularly those targeting the Asian American community.
The agency’s San Francisco office said the strategy would include directing new resources and personnel toward hate crime investigations, increasing coordination and cooperation with other law enforcement agencies, community outreach, and public awareness.READ MORE: 'No Sideshow Zone;' Antioch Unveils Prevention, Enforcement Action Against Planned 'Rideout' Event
Overcoming hesitancy by undocumented residents in reporting hate crimes would be a focus of the FBI’s campaign.
“We understand that some individuals may be afraid to come forward to law enforcement,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Craig Fair in a prepared statement. “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.”
The announcement comes as the Bay Area has seen a wave of attacks against Asian Americans as in many parts of the country, coinciding with months of anti-Asian rhetoric associated with the COVID-19 pandemic from former President Donald Trump.READ MORE: UPDATE: Suspect Arrested After 94-Year-Old Asian Woman Stabbed In San Francisco's Tenderloin Neighborhood
The FBI said it was training more special agents to conduct hate crime and civil rights investigations, and those agents will also conduct outreach to community groups to spread awareness, build trust, and encourage additional reporting of hate crimes.
“We applaud and support these efforts and will continue to coordinate closely with the FBI in this vital enforcement area,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Stephanie M. Hinds in a prepared statement. “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 said it was also increasing outreach efforts to minority groups along with community and religious organizations to foster trust and cooperation.
As part of the public awareness campaign the FBI is launching, ads will appear on San Francisco Muni streetcars and on social media channels.MORE NEWS: Bay Area Heat Wave: Cal ISO Issues Flex Alert For Thursday as Temperatures Soar
Members of the public were urged to report hate crimes or other civil rights violations to the FBI San Francisco Division by calling (415) 553-7400 or submitting a tip online at tips.fbi.gov.