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Santa Monica College temporarily evacuated after bomb threat

April 23, 2013|By Richard Winton, Kurt Streeter and Andrew Blankstein

Santa Monica College was evacuated Tuesday because of a bomb threat, police said.

About 12:30 p.m. Santa Monica police were requested to assist in evacuating the main campus quad, said Santa Monica police Sgt. Richard Lewis. The threat was cleared about 1:30 p.m.

The threat marks the latest in a string of reports of threats and suspicious packages across the Southland since the Boston Marathon was bombed last week.

The Boston Marathon bombings have left local police stretched thin as they are forced to deal with troubling consequences: a surge in bomb squad calls from people who think they’ve spotted an explosive and an uptick in fake threats from opportunists seeking attention during a time of fear and frayed nerves.

“We’re getting three- or four-fold the number of bomb squad calls we usually do,” said Jim Amormino, spokesman for the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, an increase also reported by the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.

Officials at the Los Angeles Police Department said that since Boston’s deadly April 15 attack, their bomb squad has been getting five to seven calls a day, a significant increase considering it’s not uncommon for weeks to go by without a single call.

As happened in the weeks after 9/11, Boston’s carnage appears to have spurred, at least temporarily, a public shift.

“Any time someone leaves a bag alone for a few minutes it draws people’s attention now,” said Amormino, who noted that bomb squads are erring on the side of caution, rolling to the scene of every call.

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