NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — The FBI in Connecticut is asking that if you witness a hate crime or are a victim of a hate crime, to report it.
Racially motivated hate crimes are up roughly 49% nationwide, according to the FBI. Earlier this week, white supremacist fliers were left on lawns and streets in Bristol by the group New England Nationalist Social Club. Those fliers were also left in West Hartford, Enfield, and East Haven.
The FBI says they are aware of these fliers and that they are taking steps to address those matters and work with other law enforcement. When it comes to hate crimes, the FBI said the public is the first line of defense.
“We cannot do our job without the help of the public,” FBI Special Agent In Charge Jean-Pierre Njock said. “You, the public, are on the ground. You, the public, see these activities, these hate crimes offenses, taking place, or are victimized.”
Stacey Sobel is the Connecticut Regional Director of the Anti-Defamation League and is troubled by the increase in crimes motivated by bias against race, nationality, sexuality, disability, or gender.
“We have seen in the past four years, a 20-fold increase in White Supremacist propaganda,” Sobel said.
She says a total of nine Connecticut communities have had similar flyers found including Killingworth, West Hartford, East Hartford, Trumbull, Westbrook, Hamden, Montville, Enfield, and now Bristol.
The Anti-Defamation League says antisemitic incidents are up 42 percent this year in Connecticut. Late last year, the state police created its own special unit to probe hate crimes.
“It’s very important that we have accurate data and that we can help communities heal from these incidents,” Sobel said.
If you believe you are a victim or a witness of a hate crime, the FBI urges you to report it to the FBI by calling 1-800-CALL-FBI or submitting a tip at tips.fbi.gov. You can remain anonymous. You can also report it through your local police department.