WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — The Federal Bureau of Investigation Kansas City Division is encouraging the public to report hate crimes with the launch of its hate crime awareness campaign.

The campaign was originally launched in 2021 and focused on the Kansas City area. In 2023, the campaign will focus not only on the Kansas City area but also the Springfield and St. Joseph, Mo. and Topeka and Wichita, Kan. areas as well.

“Hate crimes are the highest priority of the FBI’s civil rights program because of the devastating impact they have on families and communities,” said the FBI KC Division.

The FBI is the lead investigative agency for criminal violations of federal civil rights statutes and 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 FBI KC Division, historically, hate crimes are underreported.

“Hate crimes are not only an attack on the victim – many times they are meant to threaten and
intimidate an entire community,” said the FBI KC Division. “By launching this nationwide campaign, the FBI hopes to increase awareness and reporting.”

The localized Hate Crimes Awareness Campaign started on Oct. 3 in Kansas City and on Oct. 13 in Springfield and St. Joseph, Missouri, and in Topeka and Wichita, Kansas.

The campaign is bringing awareness to reporting hate crimes by advertising on the inside and outside of mass transit buses, as well as benches in Springfield.

According to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting program’s Supplemental Hate Crimes Statistics, 2021 report on the Crime Data Explorer at CDE (cjis.gov) data was submitted by 14,859 law enforcement agencies. The report covers January 1, 2021, through December 31, 2021, and includes data submitted through both the National Incident Based Reporting System (NIBRS) and the Summary Reporting System (SRS). The 2021 data provides information about the offenses, victims, offenders, and locations of hate crimes. Law Enforcement Agencies reported 10,840 criminal incidents and 12,411 related offenses as being motivated by bias towards race, ethnicity, ancestry, religion, sexual orientation, disability, gender, and gender identity. Of the 10,530 single-bias incidents involving 12,411 victims, the percentage break down of victims targeted based type of bias targeted revealed the following:

64.50% race/ethnicity/ancestry
15.95% sexual orientation
14.07% religion
3.16% gender identity
1.38% disability
0.95% gender”

Federal Bureau of Investigation Kansas City Division

The FBI says it understands some individuals may be fearful of coming forward to law enforcement and reporting hate crimes.

“We have a long-standing commitment to civil rights enforcement and understand the impact of these crimes. We remain steadfast in our commitment to protect all victims of crime, but we need the community’s help, by coming forward when they witness an act of hate or are a victim of one. If we don’t know about these crimes, we cannot investigate them,” the FBI KC Division said.

The FBI is encouraging reporting of bias and hate-motivated crimes.

If you believe you are a victim or witness of a hate crime, regardless of your national origin or immigration status, the FBI urges you to report to the FBI by calling the local Kansas City office at 816-512-8200, 1-800-CALL-FBI or by submitting a tip online at tips.fbi.gov.