Security increased after threats to Jewish Community Centers in New York area

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Stacey Sager has the latest details.

Jewish community centers across the Tri-State area are on high alert and beefing up security after half a dozen received bomb threats Monday in the latest set of hoaxes made at Jewish community centers across the country.
Local JCCs resumed normal operations Tuesday, saying the best response is to go about business as usual. Still, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has ordered an investigation after the latest wave of threats.

Cuomo said Jewish centers in Tarrytown, Staten Island, New Rochelle and Plainview, Long Island, were targeted with bomb threats, along with Jewish community centers and day schools in at least a dozen states. No bombs were found.

The group says it's the fifth wave of threats at institutions around the country since January. The group counts a total of 89 incidents in 30 states and Canada.
The FBI and Justice Department are also investigating, and U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has denounced the threats.

"This is unacceptable behavior," he said. "We are a nation that's diverse constituency, and we don't need these kinds of activities."

The recent hoaxes have again put administrators in the position of having to decide whether a threatening message on the other end of a phone line is enough reason to evacuate. For most, the answer was to evacuate until police arrived to search for anything suspicious and then give them the all-clear to return. But some law enforcement experts question whether the evacuations are an overreaction.

In New Jersey, Bergen County prosecutor Gurbir Grewal said the decision on whether to evacuate is best made by the facilities themselves and that county prosecutors have held meetings to lay out best practices for discerning whether a call is a true threat.

On Staten Island, the threat was called into the JCC on Manor Road in the Sea View section just after 9:30 a.m. Monday. The same JCC was threatened on January 11, when a threatening sticker was found. The sticker, on a bathroom wall of the JCC, said "bomb" and had a swastika on it. The building was searched by NYPD, and no bomb was found.
In Tarrytown, the phoned-in bomb threat was made to the JCC on 371 South Broadway. Kids were evacuated from the nursery school and were taken to the Double Tree Hotel next door. Tarrytown Police and Westchester County Police responded to the scene with their bomb squad and later cleared the building.

In New Rochelle, the Jewish Community Center of Mid-Westchester, located on 999 Wilmot Road received a bomb threat via telephone. The caller claimed that there was a bomb inside the building. The building was evacuated, and New Rochelle Police searched the building with k9. No explosive devices or suspicious packages were found. The incident remains under investigation.

The Plainview threat was the second in Nassau County, with another JCC in Oceanside receiving a similar threat in January. County officials announced they'll roll out security protocols recommended for the county's schools for religious institutions as well.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

Related Topics:
newsbomb threatjewishstaten island newsNew York City
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