False threat prompts police to search Homewood Apartments

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Baltimore Police investigated what turned out to be a bogus “unconfirmed threat” at Homewood Apartments on November 11. Residents were encouraged to stay in their rooms and police temporarily blocked 29th Street between St. Paul Street and N. Charles Street to search the building.

Homewood Apartments resident Aryan Dugar entered the building as police began their search. He described the experience in an email to The News-Letter.

“While I had no idea what was going on initially, seeing the cops – and the helicopter circling around the building – was a little freaked out,” he wrote. “When I finally heard about the Rave Alert, I was definitely more scared of the possibilities and wasn’t sure how to act. “

In an email to The News-Letter, Homewood Apartments resident Jadniel Varela criticized the lack of detail in the notification.

“[The Rave alert] did not honestly answer any question which could not have been deduced from the presence of all the police officers; it was vague, late to notify and gave no instructions or recommended any precautions, ”he wrote. “For all of these reasons, I didn’t take it seriously and didn’t have any feelings of worry or panic.”

Residents were told about 30 minutes after the first alert that no threat had been found, but the second alert did not specify further information.

Vice President of Communications Andrew Green explained in an email to The News-Letter that the threat was against Homewood Apartments and other campus buildings.

“Tonight Johns Hopkins Public Safety received an unconfirmed threat against the off-campus Homewood apartments as well as several administrative buildings on its Homewood campus that were found to be unfounded,” he wrote.

The threat was similar to a recent round of bogus threats at other universities.

“While the threat matched the profile of many bogus threats made against universities across the country, JHU, in coordination with the Baltimore Police Department, acted very cautiously to conduct a thorough search of the buildings,” he said. he writes.

On November 11, buildings at New York University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Southern California were evacuated due to bomb threats. A few days earlier, threats had been made at Columbia University, Brown University and Cornell University.

These threats have been attributed to a trend called “swatting”, where anonymous threats are made in the hope of inciting the deployment of a special team of weapons and tactics.

Varela felt that the University should have shared more information with the students.

“I feel like this information should have been clearly communicated to the students since the second rave alert only implied that it was a false threat,” he wrote.

Dugar was happy that the police investigated despite no threats being found.

“I am grateful that the police conducted a thorough investigation despite the possibility that it was a false threat (in the context of similar cases at other universities),” he wrote.


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