FBI and MCTS team up for hate crime reporting campaign

NOW: FBI and MCTS team up for hate crime reporting campaign

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- The FBI Milwaukee Division and Milwaukee County Transit System launched a campaign to increase awareness of reporting hate crimes.

The two agencies unveiled a pair of MCTS busses that will have the 1-800-CALL-FBI number on them as part of the campaign.

"Our busses cross every, every inch of Milwaukee County," Julie Schneider, the MCTS director of security, safety and risk management, said in a news conference on Friday, Oct. 22. "So it's really important that we're able to send that message that we are supporting the stopping of hate crimes and reporting of hate crimes."

The FBI reported 2020 had the highest number of hate crimes reported in more than a decade, a trend that is similar in Wisconsin.

"In 2016, we had an estimated 34 reported hate crimes," Robert Hughes, the FBI Milwaukee Division Special Agent in Charge said. "In 2020 that number is risen to 72."

Community leaders say the trend of hate crimes and hate-related acts has been a concern for them in recent years.

"All of these acts are frightening to us," Kai Yael Gardner Mishlove told CBS 58 in an interview. Mishlove is the director of the Jewish Community Relations Council for the Milwaukee Jewish Federation.

The concern is echoed by leaders of other groups as well.

"We know where there's hate that targets one group, ultimately, it's going to target us all," Forward Latino President Darryl Morin said.

Morin believes hate crimes often go underreported.

"Those who have these acts done against them really have a fear for their own personal safety, and many choose not to come forward," Morin said.

But both leaders applaud the partnership between MCTS and the FBI.

"It's important to educate the public about hate crimes, how to report them and it's an important intervention," Mishlove said.

Ultimately, community leaders, MCTS and the FBI hope the campaign yields positive results in boosting community involvement on the issue.

"Together, as a community, we can get victims the help they need and put these offenders where they need to be, out of our communities," Hughes said.

To report an allegation of a hate crime, people are encouraged to call 1-800-CALL-FBI or 1-800-225-5324. Or people can submit tips at https://tips.fbi.gov/.

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