MEDFORD, Ore. -- The FBI is in Medford to start its hate crime awareness campaign.
This campaign has already touched several other states including Washington, Tennessee, and New Jersey.
Newswatch 12 has spoken to many people in recent months regarding hate crimes.
The response has been mixed throughout the Rogue Valley, some saying that hate crimes are an issue in the area, while others claim hate crimes are rare.
Federal Bureau of Investigation's Special Agent in Charge of the Portland Field Office Kieran Ramsey told Newswatch 12 that the reality is that hate crimes are rarely reported across the country.
On Tuesday, August 24, SAC Ramsey came to Medford to do one of his regular visits to the area, checking in with law enforcement partners in the Rogue Valley.
Ramsey said when it comes to hate crimes on the federal level, not every incident will be classified as a hate crime. He added, if a person believes a crime was motivated by prejudice or bias then it should be reported to the FBI immediately.
"We're often talking about some kind of crime something usually on the more serious end. We think of murder, assault, arson, maybe even vandalism. On top of that there's this component that the person who committed that crime did so in part or wholely because of the belief of the actual status of the victim that they targeted."
The hate crimes campaign in Oregon starts the week of August 30, is part of a national FBI effort to raise awareness about federal hate crime laws and to encourage victims to report them to the FBI.
The FBI says it coordinates many efforts with local law enforcement agencies, and though this campaign is FBI-specific, it says it would likely work with local law enforcement on any hate crime that has potential federal and state nexus jointly until prosecutors determined which route a particular case would work.
To report hate crimes to the FBI call 1-800-CALL-FBI or visit Tips.FBI.gov.
Newswatch 12 is following local organizations who are also spreading messages about hate crime awareness and will give further updates on those efforts as more information becomes available.