Threats against lawmakers nearly doubled in the first three months of 2021, the Los Angeles Times reports.
According to the Times, Capitol Police reported 4,135 threats against lawmakers during this time, compared with a total of 5,206 threats total in 2018 and 8,613 in 2020.
Some lawmakers after the Jan. 6 riots temporarily relocated their families for safety reasons and wore bulletproof vests during President Joe Biden's inauguration, the LA Times reported.
"It’s difficult, and particularly difficult for the family," said Rep. John Garamendi, D-Calif.
"There are risks in this job. There’s no doubt about it. We spend millions of dollars to let everybody know who we are. So you become a target."
The Capitol Police has created two satellite offices in Northern California and Florida, where most of the reported threats originate, according to the Times. Experts attribute the rising threats on lawmakers to factors such as incendiary social media and cable news, as well as inflammatory statements made by politicians.
Former President Donald Trump’s "divisive and racist rhetoric" also played a role, according to the LA Times.
Threats against members of Congress reflect growing partisanship and declining civility, with some members also contributing to the problem by sometimes encouraging their supporters to harass political rivals.
The Capitol Police inspector general office in May recommended a slew of new initiatives to combat the problem, including creating an entirely new division staffed with analysts, agents, and officers; hiring more agents in the Threat Assessment Section; and an increase in intelligence gathering and surveillance.
But Capitol Police officials don't have the manpower to give all 435 representatives and 100 senators a security detail or to monitor their social media accounts.
Dozens of cases of people threatening to kill Democratic and Republican lawmakers have been brought in federal court in the past five years. Threatening a federal official is a felony punishable by a fine and up to six years in prison.
Since Jan. 6 more than 100 lawmakers have reported spending thousands of dollars each in campaign funds to install security systems and hire bodyguards for public events, according to federal election forms. A few have received permits to carry concealed weapons either at home or in Washington, the LA Times reported.
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