Updated: August 05, 2021 07:25 AM
Created: August 04, 2021 10:16 AM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- Special Agent in Charge Raul Bujanda, who we introduced to you Tuesday, is focused on targeting hate crimes with the Albuquerque Field Office.
SAC Bujanda wants the FBI to focus on important community issues. The agency is highly interested in civil rights and made addressing hate crimes a national threat priority.
"We're going to commit resources to make sure that every field office is addressing everything that has to do with civil rights and hate crimes to include a big part of it be a financial campaign," stated Bujanda. "Now we want to make sure we get the word out to people that they understand it's okay to come forward, whether it's to your local law enforcement, to our partners, or to the FBI as well, and let us know if you think that you've been victim of a hate crime."
The FBI is working on various campaigns, including on social media, billboards and busses to encourage people to reach out. The campaigns are aimed at addressing a big problem of people being hesitant to submit hate crime reports.
"I would say the last five years there's been somewhat of an uptake," explained Bujanda. "If I look back at the numbers here within New Mexico in 2018, we had about 26 incidents that were reported. Now, in 2019, that almost doubled to about 50 but we're far from where we need to be and I think a lot of it is people just don't know how to report to the FBI."
The FBI's 2020 hate crime statistics will not be coming out until later this year. However, KOB previously reported that community concerns about hate crimes over the past year could be higher. The department has been working with local civic leaders to ensure their concerns and questions are answered.
"Now that we've made it a national priority, we're looking at things initially we might have not looked at in the past, because it was being handled by state and local," said Bujanda, "For the most part now, anything that really happens that meets our thresholds, we'll open a parallel investigation not to get into the way of what the state and local partners are doing, but just to make sure that we're looking at it from a different perspective of, 'Was there a bias and what was that bias?'" If you would like to make a report, you can make a report online or call 1-800-CALL-FBI (225-5324)
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