The United States Capitol Police (USCP) reported Friday that they have seen a 107% increase in threats to members of Congress compared to the year 2020, and predicted no let-up in the close future.
"Provided the unique threat environment we currently live in, the (UCSP) Department is confident the number of cases will continue to increase," the Capitol Police department said in a statement Friday.
The threat assessment tracks with what members of Congress have been saying this year after they survived an unprecedented attack on the Capitol by a pro-Trump mob seeking to stop the certification of President Biden's election victory. At least 140 police officers were injured in the riot and five people died, including Officer Brian Sicknick who suffered a stroke after defending the Capitol.
House members as well as senators have all had to ramp up their own personal security to combat the threats by spending thousands of dollars in campaign funds for private security details and installing surveillance systems.
Meanwhile, lawmakers are hammering out how best to fortify the Capitol, implement additional security precautions and fund the Capitol Police which has been hard hit by the events of Jan. 6 and the subsequent Good Friday Capitol attack that killed Officer Billy Evans.
Acting Capitol Police Chief Yogananda Pittman requested that Congress boost the police budget by more than $107 million over last year to account for emergency needs and emerging threats. The initial budget request was for $36 million more than 2021 levels, but those figures were revised following the Jan. 6 attack.
Pittman testified before Congress in March, highlighting the fast growing danger to lawmakers. She pointed out that threats to members of Congress had increased by 93.5% within the first two months of 2021, compared to the same time period last year.
The police threat statement Friday came in response to a report from the Office of Inspector General that suggested the Capitol Police establish a standalone counter surveillance unit similar to the United States Secret Service (USSS).
Capitol Police agreed with that finding and noted it will cost money and manpower.
In 2020, the Secret Service was staffed with more than 100 agents and analysts and handled about 8,000 cases, the Capitol Police said in its statement. During that same time frame, Capitol Police had about 30 agents and analysts but were faced with 9,000 cases, USCP noted.
"The Department would require additional resources for new employees, training, and vehicles as well as approval from Congressional stakeholders," the statement said.