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Eight hate crimes reported in Rogue Valley in 2020

The FBI is launching a billboard campaign in Medford and other parts of Oregon encouraging more victims of hate crimes to come forward. Southern Oregon saw eight hate crimes in 2020. [FBI graphic]
New FBI report shows 271 hate crimes in Oregon last year

Oregon law enforcement agencies reported 271 hate crimes last year, according to a newly released FBI report, including eight in the Rogue Valley.

Six "bias-motivated incidents“ were reported in Jackson County and two in Josephine County in 2020, according to FBI hate crime statistics released earlier this week that draw from local police department data.

In 2020, Central Point police reported one incident of anti-Black vandalism, and the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office reported two separate bias incidents — one logged by the FBI as “anti-transgender” and the other as “anti-white.”

Medford police logged one incident of anti-Black intimidation at a grocery store, Phoenix police logged one incident of anti-Hispanic intimidation in a public building, and Talent police logged one incident of anti-Christian vandalism at a church, according to local data uploaded into the federal agency’s Uniform Crime Reporting program last year and made available Monday.

The Josephine County Sheriff’s Office reported two anti-LGBTQ hate crimes, in the first and third quarters of 2020, according to the FBI. One was described as vandalism or damage of property at a residence, and the other was described as intimidation at a restaurant.

About 70% of Oregon hate crimes involved race, ethnicity and ancestry, with victims perceived as Black being the racial group most frequently targeted last year.

Religion was the motivator in 10% of Oregon hate crimes, with victims perceived as Jewish the most frequently targeted group. Sexual Orientation motivated another 10% of hate crimes in the state, and gender identity motivated about 3% of incidents in Oregon.

The FBI says that hate crimes have historically been underreported. To encourage more victims to come forward, the FBI is launching a statewide public awareness campaign that will include digital billboards in Medford, Beaverton, Clackamas, Milwaukie, Salem and Corvallis.

“Protecting our communities together,” the billboard states. “Report hate crimes.”

Federal laws allow the FBI to investigate hate crimes that involve crimes such as murder, assault or arson and evidence that the perpetrator’s motivation was bias — described by the FBI as race, ethnicity, national origin, disability, religion, gender, gender identity or sexual orientation.

The FBI asks anyone with information about a federal hate crime to call the FBI at 1-800-CALL-FBI or see tips.fbi.gov.

Reach web editor Nick Morgan at 541-776-4471 or nmorgan@rosebudmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @MTCrimeBeat.