The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in Newark, New Jersey is embarking on a campaign to raise awareness about its efforts to prosecute hate crimes.
This, as another Filipino became the latest victim of Asian hate crimes in New York City.
George Crouch Jr., special agent in charge of the Newark division, said Wednesday that from August to November, “Protecting Our Communities Together” messages will be displayed on New Jersey Transit buses and trains and at rail stations, as well as on billboards along major New Jersey roadways.
The ads will publicize the FBI’s existing toll-free number and website where tips can be passed on.
An FBI report released last November found that hate crimes across the U.S. rose to their highest level in more than a decade and that hate-motivated killings reached a high as well, though it’s believed most hate crimes go unreported.
Last month, a report commissioned by a coalition of civil rights groups concluded that hate crime laws across the US are inconsistent and can even have the effect of discouraging victims from coming forward.
“We want the public to be aware that the FBI investigates these matters and places a very high level of priority on such incidents,” Crouch said.
Anti-Asian incidents have spiked since the onset of the Coviv-19 pandemic, as people of Asian and Pacific Islander descent have been treated as scapegoats based on their race.
Among Filipinos living in the US, Miguel Braganza, who was once part of “Miss Saigon,” is one of the latest victims of Asian hate crimes.
Braganza was attacked in New York City as he was stepping out of a Uber vehicle.
“When I stepped out sa Uber, visiting my friends, a guy suddenly jumped on me and pushed me to the side of the car,” he said in an interview over a Philippine radio station.
Braganza said he was traumatized and suffers from depression from the incident, although he did not sustain major injuries from the incident.