Threats against members of Congress are on the rise, and Capitol Police say they are “confident” that the number of cases will continue to increase.
According to CBS News’ reporting on a yet-to-be-released Capitol Police Inspector General’s report, the number of threat cases increased from 171 in 2017 and then rose to 586 in 2020. But in the first three months of 2021, that number has already surpassed 200 cases.
CBS goes on to explain the department’s definition of a threat includes “a communication or action showing clear or implied intent to inflict physical, psychological, or other harm,” to both lawmakers or property such as the Capitol building.
In a statement, the USCP not only acknowledged the OIG’s findings, citing a “107 percent increase” in threats in 2021 alone but went on to say they expect the rise in threats to continue.
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“As the Department has previously reported, the number of threats made against Congress has increased significantly. This year alone, there has been a 107 percent increase in threats against Members compared to 2020. Provided the unique threat environment we currently live in, the Department is confident the number of cases will continue to increase,” the statement read.
The report goes on to say that the Capitol Police department does not have “adequate resources” to investigate the growing number of cases. In their statement, the USCP drew a comparison with other law enforcement entities who deal with similar numbers of threats and agreed that more manpower is needed to deal with “the unique threat environment we currently live in.”
“The OIG suggests the Department’s Threat Assessment Section be similar to the United States Secret Service (USSS). In 2020, the USSS, which has more than 100 agents and analysts, had approximately 8,000 cases. During the same time period, the USCP, which has just over 30 agents and analysts, had approximately 9,000 cases,” the statement said. But, USCP added, hiring new agents will require additional resources, training, and vehicles. And all of these actions would need congressional approval and funding.
Capitol Police Inspector General Michael Bolton is scheduled to testify before the House Administration Committee on Monday about the contents of the anticipated report. He also testified before Congress in March about two earlier reports on the department, where he said, “We see that the department needs to move away from the thought process as a traditional police department and move to the posture as a protective agency. A police department is a reactive force. A crime is committed; police respond and make an arrest. Whereas, a protective agency is postured to being proactive to prevent events such as January 6th.”
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