Threats against members of Congress dropped in 2022, but Capitol Police Chief Tom Manger said they are still “still too high.”
“The threats against Members of Congress are still too high,” Manger said in a press release on Monday. “This has resulted in a necessary expansion of, not only our investigative capabilities, but our protection responsibilities as well.”
The agency’s Threat Assessment Section investigated 7,501 cases in 2022, including investigations into direct threats and concerning statements, officials said, which is a drop from the 9,625 cases in 2021 and from the 8,613 in 2020. While this is the first time cases dropped in at least five years, Manger urged people to tone down “violent” political rhetoric to keep everyone safe.
“While that work is ongoing, everyone continuing to decrease violent political rhetoric across the country is the best way to keep everyone safe,” he said.
In 2021, Capitol Police opened up new field offices in Florida and California to “swiftly” deal with threats because those two states had the most threats against members of Congress, the agency said. It added that all members of Congress received “threats and concerning statements” and that both Republicans and Democrats in Congress received similar numbers of threats.
The statistics were released months after Rep. Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) husband was attacked in their San Francisco home in October. At the time, both Republicans and Democrats condemned the attack, saying there should be no tolerance for attacks on elected officials and their families.
“Overall, during the last couple of decades the Threat Assessment Section’s caseload has increased because people on social media have a false sense of anonymity and feel more emboldened,” Mario Scalora, the U.S. Capitol Police’s consulting psychologist, said on Monday. “This is not a problem we can only arrest our way out of.”