FBI encouraging residents to report hate crimes in Rolla

Lori Amos
The Rolla Daily News
In Rolla, the FBI has a billboard located at 1726 N. Bishop Ave.

Through the rollout of a new public awareness campaign, the Federal Bureau of Investigation is encouraging victims and witnesses to report hate crimes. 

Special Agent in Charge of the FBI St. Louis Division Richard Quinn on Wednesday announced the new public awareness campaign to inform members of the community about the bureau’s role in investigating hate crimes.

In Missouri and across the country, the FBI is raising awareness through messages displayed on metro buses, at light rail stations, bus shelters, billboards along major routes, gas station pumps, on radio and social media. 

In Rolla, the FBI has placed a billboard at 1726 N. Bishop Ave., since hate crimes have traditionally been under-reported to law enforcement. 

At Wednesday's news conference, U.S. Attorney Fleming said, “We must continue to honor the promise that ‘all [people] are created equal,’ and where equality is compromised or threatened, strive to see it restored. No citizen should be victimized based upon their real or perceived race, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability."

"The United States Attorney’s Office stands shoulder-to-shoulder with the FBI and other State and Federal partners in their efforts to identify and prosecute ‘hate crimes’ in all forms. We encourage citizens to report these crimes and offer our committed effort to hold the offenders accountable," Fleming said. 

The FBI recently released nationwide statistics on hate crimes reported in 2020. Nationwide there were 7,759 incidents, the highest in 12 years. 

In Missouri, there were 115 reported hate crime incidents, the highest in nine years. It is twice as many as the 66 incidents in 2018. 

“Hate crimes are traditionally under-reported to law enforcement,” Quinn said. “It’s important for victims and witnesses to report allegations of hate crimes as soon as possible to give investigators the best chance of collecting evidence and bringing the perpetrators to justice.”

A victim or witness of a hate crime can contact the FBI at tips.fbi.gov or 1-800-CALL-FBI.