With attacks against Asian, Black and Jewish victims trending higher in New Jersey, the FBI is launching a new campaign to encourage Garden State residents to report hate crimes and bias incidents.

According to New Jersey State Police data there were more than 1,440 bias incidents reported last year, an increase of almost 50% compared to 2019, and in 2020 the number of anti-Semitic incidents was the second highest on record.

George Crouch, the special agent in charge of the FBI’s Newark division, said in the coming weeks messaging will be displayed on billboards around the state as well as at NJ Transit bus and rail stations and social media to raise awareness about this issue.

The public is encouraged to report hate crimes to 1-800-CALL-FBI or tips.fbi.gov.

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FBI hate crime poster
FBI hate crime poster

Crouch said cracking down on hate crimes is a top priority of the Bureau because “hate crimes have a profound impact, not only on victims and their families but on communities, people who identify with a hate crime victim live with a fear that they could be the next target.”

He said when this kind of incident takes place it affects “all those people who just want to live their lives, and for some reason they live in fear of being able to be their authentic self.”

He explained a federal hate crime involves physical harm, threats or intimidation based in bias toward an individual or group because of race, religion, gender or gender identity, physical limitation, national origin or sexual orientation.

“We just can’t have that today, that’s just not the America that I know and I love,” he said.

The FBI in New Jersey is spending about $50,000 on the Protecting Our Communities Together campaign, which includes working with a variety of community organizations across the state to get the word out about this effort.

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