FBI Cracks Down On Rising Number Of Hoax Threats To Schools

It can lead to a federal prison term of up to five years.

Brett Blume
May 24, 2018 - 1:55 pm

(Provided by the FBI)

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ST. LOUIS (KMOX) - It's already happened a couple of times this month in St. Louis -- classes at local schools getting cancelled in the wake of a threat.

Richard Quinn, special agent in charge of the FBI's field office in St. Louis, says these kind of threats are on the rise, and it's a phenomenon they've seen before.

"It's not uncommon for us to see in the wake of a mass casualty event like a school shooting," he tells KMOX. "We'll see a significant uptick in the number of hoax threats, or false threats."

But Quinn says the crackdown is real.

"There's very little tolerance, especially these days, for things that used to be considered a prank or a joke," he says. "Law enforcement takes these threats very seriously."

The FBI and its partners follow up on every tip they receive from the public, and analyze and investigate all threat to determine their credibility, which drains law enforcement resources and costs taxpayers a lot of money.

Since so many threats these days are made online or via computer, the tagline for the FBI campaign is #ThinkBeforeYouPost.

Quinn reminds anyone thinking of making such a threat that it can lead to a federal prison term of up to five years.

"So if you make a false or a hoax threat, you can be assured that law enforcement will take it seriously and you will be held accountable," Quinn says.

If there is any reason to believe the safety of others is at risk, the FBI is asking that the public take immediate action and reach out to their local police department by calling 911, or 1-800-CALL-FBI.

Tips can also be submitted via tips.fbi.gov.