Bomb Threat Information
Definition: Bomb threats are a violation of the law, and charges will be filed against persons making such threats. A bomb threat is legally defined as the communication through the use of mail, e-mail, telephone, telegram, or other instrument of commerce; the willful making of any threat; or the malicious conveyance of false information knowing the same to be false which concerns an attempt being made, or to be made; to kill, injure, intimidate any individual; or unlawfully to damage or destroy any building, vehicle, or other real or personal property by means of an explosive.
General: There are only three reasonable explanations for receiving a bomb threat.
First, the caller has definite knowledge or believes that an explosive or incendiary device has been or will be placed in an area and wants to minimize personal injury or property damage. The caller may be the person who placed the device or someone else who has become aware of such information.
Second, the caller wants to create an atmosphere of anxiety and panic, which will possibly result in a disruption of the normal activities at the target area. When a threat has been received, there will be a reaction to it. If the call is directed to a target area where a vacuum in leadership exists or where there has been no organized advance planning to handle such a threat, the call may well result in panic.
Third, the caller wants to bring about or amplify a lack of confidence in existing leadership or programs. By injecting panic into a normal operational situation through fear of the known or unknown, the caller may achieve his or her ultimate goals; i.e., an increased potential for personal injury, property damage, or evacuation or shutdown of essential facilities which result in unacceptable economic loss.
Past experience has revealed that targets for terrorists' bombings or threats have not been selected at random. The target is generally selected because of political, real or imagined personal gain to the terrorist. Today, more of these threats are materializing. The university's first consideration must be for the safety of its people. It is necessary to determine immediately whether a bomb threat is real. Plans devised to cope with these threats are formulated with these thoughts in mind.
Preparation: It is absolutely essential that issues of communication and planning be made in advance to safely handle bomb threats; therefore, clear-cut levels of authority have been established. It is important that each person handle his or her assignment without delay and without any manifestation of fear.
Only by having an established organization and procedures can these problems be handled with the least risk to all concerned and instill confidence so that there will be no panic.
There is little probability of receiving a warning call where an explosive or incendiary has actually been placed; however, the university cannot ignore the fact that there have been instances where a threatening call was not a hoax. In a few instances, the person making a warning call has given the recipient enough information to aid in determining the caller's identity. In addition, there have been cases where the caller has described the device, given its location, and stated the time that the device was to be detonated or ignited.
It is for these reasons that personnel normally responsible for answering the telephone in any campus office should be instructed in advance to do the following:
Since the Department of Public Safety will be interested in talking firsthand with the person receiving the call, this person should remain available until officers arrive on the scene.
In order to reduce the potential placement of an explosive or incendiary device, the university can tighten physical security in some areas. Not only will this reduce the chances of having a bomb brought on to the campus, but search efforts can be maximized by doing the following:
While all of the above measures might not apply to all university departments, some of them will, and the implementation of any of these measures will offer some protection.