In his State of the County address on Sept. 30, County Executive Steven Neuhaus said the county has received over 4,000 bomb threats since Labor Day, one of a list of growing concerns he had for the county.
None of the threats have proven real, he said, but “unfortunately you and I have to be prepared that it’s the real thing.”
The threats are targeting schools in the county, and most if not all of them are automated calls from other countries like Pakistan or Russia.
Together with state and federal partners, the county has been able to block most of the calls before they get in, Neuhaus said, which is why people haven’t heard about them.
He attributed the calls to cheap technology in some countries that allows people to send repeated threats overseas through the internet.
“[At] the City University of New York (CUNY) one of the girls there got in a fight with her boyfriend, he’s from Pakistan, and he was able to take $20 and use it to do bomb threats on CUNY all the time,” Neuhaus said.
While the threats have proved hollow, the fear of bombs is real.
After a bomb exploded in the Chelsea neighborhood of New York City Sept. 17, more people and businesses in the county are requesting bomb-sniffing dogs, Neuhaus said. The county was able to deploy seven dogs trained in explosives detection that day, a number that might be growing.
“Smaller [police] departments are trying to get their own K-9 dogs too because it’s very helpful if you have them trained to do narcotics and explosives,” Neuhaus said.
He said people are going to start seeing more K-9s at big stores this shopping season and at shopping centers as the state police, large police departments, and the Sheriffs Office increase their presence there.
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