FBI Is Reaching Out to Mainers In Bangor, Lewiston, Portland, Augusta
In a press release sent out on Tuesday, the FBI is reaching out to Mainers and other states in New England, to encourage the reporting of hate crimes.
Local Statistics Show Drop In Hate Crime Reporting
The FBI states that nationwide hate crimes hit their highest level during 2020. In 2020, 426 hate crimes were reported across the New England states of Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island. In 2019, New England states had reported 427 hate crimes.
The New England FBI division is aware that citizens throughout the area may be underreporting hate crimes happening in the communities of the New England states. Their campaign to remedy this is a multi-focused approach that includes a public awareness campaign, to increase investigative activity, improve law enforcement coordination, and increase community outreach.
FBI's Focus Here In the State of Maine
Locally here in Maine, MPBN is reporting that FBI authorities are focusing on communities around Bangor, Lewiston, Augusta and Portland to increase awareness of their efforts via various media including billboard ads, social media and radio ads.
FBI Boston Divisions Special Agent in Charge, Joseph R. Bonavolonta, states the awareness the FBI has of communities being fearful of immigrants, fearful of attackers of hate crimes, and even fear or distrust of law enforcement, and the campaign is targeted to address and find solutions for these issues:
"We know that some people are afraid to come forward because of a fear or distrust of law enforcement, fear due to their immigration status, or a fear of retribution from their attacker. We understand that, but please know that hate crimes are a huge priority for the FBI, and we are surging resources to address this problem. Our goal is to protect victims, help them get justice, stop violent offenders from hurting people, and deter people from committing these terrible crimes. With the launch of this public awareness campaign, we want to make everyone aware of our strategy to tackle this problem, and to proactively try and stop these crimes from happening in the first place. Everyone deserves to feel safe in their community, and everyone deserves a voice.”
How to Report Maine Hate Crimes
For those wanting to report a hate crime or other crime that violates your civil rights call the FBI at 1-800-CALL-FBI or send an anonymous tip via their website at tips.fbi.gov