Detroit FBI office addresses spike in hate crimes post-election

According to the FBI, hate crimes are on the rise across the country.

And when they do occur, they have a devastating impact on families and communities. Now, the FBI is on the case but also need your help.

Both the FBI or U.S. Attorney's office will stand for them and both are looking to drop the hammer on hate crimes. They say it begins with people coming forward about them.

"We know that sometimes people are reluctant to report hate crimes or discrimination," said US Attorney Barbara McQuade. "But we want to assure the public that we stand ready to investigate and prosecute those cases."

McQuade and the head of the FBI division in Detroit David Gelious are urging the public to report hate crimes . This, after a 6 percent spike in 2015.

"Some troubling trends including a 67 percent increase of hate crimes committed against Muslim-Americans and also increases against Jewish Americans, LGBT community, African-Americans and many other groups.

And there have been incidents of concerns locally. A Muslim woman was reportedly forced to remove her head scarf after being threatened with it being set on fire in Ann Arbor. Students at Royal Oak Middle School were recorded chanting "Build that wall" during lunch and a noose was found in the bathroom at that same school on Friday.

"Schools have a legal duty to prevent bullying in their schools, and if they fail and fall down in that responsibility, let us know about that, too," McQuade said.

The FBI says hate crimes investigations have the highest priority in the bureau of Civil Rights program.

"I made it very, very clear to our office here in Detroit and in the state of Michigan that we join up with the local authorities," Gelious said. "And we go out and conduct interviews and conduct the preliminary investigations necessary to gather the facts and see if there is something to be prosecuted on the federal level."

If you think you are a victim of a violent crime, call the FBI Civil Rights Hotline (313) 965-2323 or the US Attorney's Civil Rights Hotline at (313) 226-9151.

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