By Paul Gessler

HIGHLANDTOWN, Md. (WJZ) — A rise in hate crimes in the area means more federal law enforcement on the ground across the area this month.

FBI agents stick out on city streets and this Wednesday morning, agents with the FBI Baltimore Field Office’s Civil Rights Division went door to door — business to business.

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“It puts a face, a human face on us,” said Tom Coyle, FBI Supervisory Special Agent.

Wednesday marks the start of a Hate Crimes Awareness campaign.

“Hate crimes are not only devastating to the victims but also threatens the community as a whole,” said Coyle.

Earlier this year, multiple attacks at three Asian-American-owned businesses in Baltimore were caught on camera. Charging documents allege he targeted them because of their ethnicity.

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The bureau said there’s been a 25 percent jump in reported hate crimes the past five years. Though, the jump in reported crimes might not necessarily be a bad thing.

“I would hope that it’s a good thing that it’s being reported and not just that there’s an increase in it,” Coyle added.

“We never hesitate to report those crimes and getting more detailed information is appreciated,” said Dipendra Aryal, Pharmacist.

Highlandtown pharmacist Dipendra Aryal said he hopes the flyers show people how serious the issue is.

“(The flyers) will help. But I will take my part in this initiative and make sure people are aware of this,” said Aryal.

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Agent Coyle added that FBI investigators only care about the perpetrators of these crimes — not the victim’s immigration status.

Paul Gessler