DENVER — School shootings and serious public acts of violence continue to plague our nation. In the wake of these tragedies, juveniles are increasingly posting images on social media of themselves and others posing with weapons and, in some instances, making threats intended as a joke or simply a hoax. These posts create a public safety issue that has to be addressed by law enforcement and school officials.
The FBI and our partners analyze and investigate all threats to determine their credibility. Federal, state, and local law enforcement then employ a full range of tools to mitigate those threats which are deemed credible. Making threats intended as a hoax drains law enforcement resources and costs taxpayers a lot of money. When an investigation determines a true threat or a “hoax threat” is made to a school, or another public place, federal or state criminal charges can result depending on the facts of each situation.
FBI Denver reminds residents to secure their weapons as a matter of Colorado law, which states that those weapons need to be “in a locked gun safe or other secure container or in a manner that a reasonable person would believe to be secure and a juvenile or resident of the premises who is ineligible to possess a firearm does not have access to the key, combination, or other unlocking mechanism…”
When talking to your children or students, the following FBI tips about online threats are a good starting point:
- Don’t ever post or send any hoax threats online…period.
- Notify authorities but don’t share or forward the threat until law enforcement has had a chance to investigate—this can spread misinformation and cause unnecessary panic in some situations.
- If you are a parent or family member, know that some young people post these threats online as a cry for attention or as a way to get revenge or exert control. Talk to your child about the proper outlet for their stress or other emotions, and explain the importance of responsible social media use and the consequences of posting hoax threats.
- For more information, visit https://www.fbi.gov/news/stories/hoax-threats-awareness-100518.
- Contact law enforcement to report any online threats or suspicious activity of this nature. If there is any reason to believe the immediate safety of others is at risk, please call 911.
- Colorado and Wyoming residents can contact the FBI via tips.fbi.gov or call the FBI Denver Division at (303) 629-7171 to report a tip.