KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) – A new federal task force wants to reduce hate crimes in the Kansas City area by promoting awareness of the problem and fostering open discussion of solutions.

The Department of Justice Community Task Force on Hate Crimes was announced at a news conference Tuesday. It’s a joint effort of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Kansas City, the DOJ Community Relations Service and the FBI’s Kansas City office.

The Kansas City Police Department and several local organizations also are members of the task force.

FBI Special Agent in Charge Michael Kaste says the number of hate crimes in the region has remained constant over the past few years. But Kaste adds that any number of such offenses is too many.

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