Following a wave of threats made against Jewish Community Centers earlier this year, law enforcement officials in New Jersey are working  to help keep the religious facilities safe.

“Our investigators are of course assisting the State Police in those patrols outside those faith based institutions,” said Rosemary Martorana, director of intelligence for the state Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness.

She said “we’re also providing target hardening and risk assessments through intelligence briefings, security training, site assessments for religious facilities in New Jersey so that they can start to identify those vulnerabilities, provide recommendations and protective measures, and mitigate against this threat.”

Martorana pointed out NJOHSP is also working with a nonprofit program that provides funding for target hardening and other physical security enhancements at religious centers.

“We also continue to share information and resources during our Interfaith Advisory Council meetings to ensure they are better prepared against this threat,” she said.

She explained the idea is to educate religious leaders “which will hopefully allow them to garner more information from those callers when possible.”

She said since the beginning of the year “there’s been about eight bomb threats at approximately six JCC locations: Beach Haven, Edison, Scotch Plains, West Orange, Cherry Hill and Tenafly.”

She said after all of these incidents, bomb sweeps were conducted and no explosive devices were found at any of the centers.

Martorana stressed any religious facility that receives a threat should immediately reach out to local law enforcement or her office at 1-866-4-SAFE-NJ or by email at tips@njohsp.gov

“It’s important that all faith based communities in New Jersey know what resources are available to them, and they can certainly find those resources on our website at NJhomelandsecurity.gov.”

She also pointed out threat information is shared with different community leaders so everyone is up to speed on what is happening to ensure maximum preparation.

She noted authorities don’t have a specific profile of individuals involved in this type of activity but efforts are ongoing to track down those responsible.

You can contact reporter David Matthau at David.Matthau@townsquaremedia.com.

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