Politics

U.S. Capitol Police: Threats to lawmakers increased in 2023

The U.S. Capitol Police on Thursday said it investigated over 8,000 threat assessment cases in 2023, an increase of more than 500 from 2022 and a potential harbinger of a spike in 2024.

“With the political conventions, Member campaigns, and many issues being debated on Capitol Hill, this is going to be a very busy year for our special agents,” said USCP Assistant Chief of Protective and Intelligence Operations Ashan M. Benedict in a release. “Our team is dedicated to putting all of our resources into protecting the Congress while we continue to grow in order to keep up with our expanding mission.”

Threat assessment cases typically surge in election years, the release said.

Case investigations examine “concerning statements and direct threats” sent to lawmakers regardless of their political party, whether through the mail, email, phone or social media. There were 7,501 such cases in 2022, according to the USCP, and 8,008 in 2023.

Some of the uptick in threat assessment cases in recent years can be attributed to social media users having a “false sense of anonymity” online, the USCP said.

The USCP said it continues to work closely with the House and Senate sergeants-at-arms to improve security for members of Congress at their homes and at congressional events. The force and sergeants-at-arms also provide security awareness training to lawmakers and their staff, which is “extremely important to keep everyone safe,” the release said.