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Press Release

U.S. Attorney, FBI Raise Awareness on Importance of Reporting Hate Crimes

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Illinois
Lauren Barry, Public Affairs Officer
Metro East Pastors, Church Security Personnel Receive Strategic Training

FAIRVIEW HEIGHTS, Ill. – As part of a Department of Justice initiative, U.S. Attorney Rachelle Aud Crowe and FBI Springfield Special Agent in Charge David Nanz hosted a safety and hate crime educational training for local religious leaders and security personnel at the FBI Fairview Heights resident office on Wednesday.

“By educating the public through the United Against Hate initiative, the U.S. Attorney’s Office is working to give individuals the resources to report acts motivated by hate when witnessed, so we have the ability to prosecute offenders of federal law,” said U.S. Attorney Rachelle Aud Crowe.

"It is our hope that in informing our faith-based communities about hate crimes, we will empower worshipers to recognize threats and know proper actions to take to protect themselves," said FBI Springfield Special Agent in Charge David Nanz. "Everyone deserves to practice their religious faith and attend religious services without fear of violence. The FBI is committed to protecting houses of worship from bias-motivated crimes."

To offer education to religious officials on protecting their houses of worship, FBI agents and Assistant U.S. Attorneys led training for attendees from Belleville, Cahokia, Shiloh, O’Fallon and surrounding communities on the distinguishing factors between hate crimes versus hate incidents and protected speech under the First Amendment versus speech that advocates violence or encourages people to commit hate crimes. Attendees took away resources on how to report suspected hate crimes to the proper investigative authorities.

FBI also provided active shooter training through its Protect Houses of Worship initiative.

To expand education to students, the U.S. Attorney’s Office is accepting requests to bring the United Against Hate presentation to school districts throughout the Southern District of Illinois. For more information and to request an event, visit

Updated June 23, 2023