On Monday, January 28th, Lawrenceville United hosted the FBI units working on hate crimes and domestic terrorism for a presentation on hate crimes and hate incidents. Over 80 people attended. The full presentation is available HERE. Special thanks to the FBI, the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh Bureau of Police Zone 2, and all those who attended.
Some key takeaways:
- Federal hate crime laws protect the following groups: race, religion, national origin, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation, gender, and gender identity.
- Hate crimes and hate incidents are on the rise nationally. Lawrenceville has seen about a dozen hate crimes or hate incidents in the past 6 months, which has been a disturbing new trend.
- We all must be PROACTIVE and PREVENTIVE in addressing hate. We can’t prosecute our way out of the problem. Recognizing the behavioral indicators of extremist and hate-based violence, and DOING something, is key to preventing violence.
- While the First Amendment protects many displays of offensive and hateful speech, a “hate incident,” while not a crime, is still useful to the FBI as it can be an important piece of the puzzle for their intelligence, intervention, and prevention. Hate incidents should be reported. The First Amendment is not extended to criminal acts based on intolerance, purposefully intimidating speech, actions which can be interpreted by a reasonable person to be a serious intent to cause harm, or the planning/preparation/
commission/facilitation of violence. A true threat puts the recipient in fear of bodily harm.
- The FBI can’t “surf” for offensive or hateful speech or materials, but if they receive a tip from the community about it, they have the ability to look into it, which is another reason why tips are important.
- Residents can report to the FBI through 412-432-4000 or www.fbi.gov/tips. The FBI also encourages residents to use resources like Lawrenceville United (412.802.7220 or info@LUnited.org) to relay information to the FBI if you wish to remain anonymous or don’t want to contact the FBI directly.
- All of the white supremacist flyers seen around the neighborhood haven’t had permission of the property owners to be hung there, in violation of city ordinance. If you come across these flyers, please document it and report to Lawrenceville United.
If you have any questions or suggestions for other ways that LU can address this trend, please contact us at 412-802-7220 or info@LUnited.org.