The Secure Community Network tracked 199 incidents of swatting and bomb threats targeting Jewish facilities in the U.S. over a 24-hour period from Dec. 15 through Dec. 16, according to a press release from the organization.
The group said that a series of arrests have been made in connection to some of these threats in various cities across the country, and that the increase has been tied largely to the Israel-Hamas war, with a dramatic spike seen after Oct. 7.
“The alarming volume of swatting incidents and false bomb threats being carried out across the country is a major concern for the safety and security of the Jewish community in North America, as well as law enforcement. SCN, community partners, law enforcement, and public safety agencies take these incidents seriously and are working hard to address them,” SCN National Director and CEO Michael Masters said in a statement.
“Swatting” is the practice of a person providing a false report of a serious and dangerous situation occurring at the address of the reporter’s target to police, which may trigger the use of a heavily armed SWAT team ready for a hostile environment on an unsuspecting person or group. The practice is illegal and has led to several deaths over the years.
SCN reported that they recorded a “staggering” 449 swatting incidents and bomb threats in 2023, which was a 541% increase from 2022. The group also said it was a dramatic escalation from the 23 total reported incidents in the 2019-2021 period.
SCN said they’ve been working with law enforcement at the local, state and federal levels to ensure the best coordination between those groups and the Jewish community to provide the best security and protection from the threats.
“It’s critical to recognize that these are not victimless crimes or innocent pranks: they can have real – and even deadly – consequences. We appreciate the arrests made to date, recognizing that the often sophisticated and anonymous nature of this activity makes these threats difficult to mitigate,” Masters said.
SCN also reported that since Oct. 7 there has been a dramatic increase in “security incidents and antisemitic activity” which has reached record highs. They reported 772 incidents in October and 634 in December, which was roughly a 290% increase.
The group said in a press release that they have referred over 230 people to law enforcement in October and November.
We will continue to work closely with our partners to address this trend, which requires ongoing vigilance, preparation and communication,” Masters said.