LAKEWOOD, NJ – Ocean County officials are on high alert after the FBI’s Newark office issued a credible threat warning against Jewish synagogues.
“The FBI has received credible information of a broad threat to synagogues in NJ. We ask at this time that you take all security precautions to protect your community and facility. We will share more information as soon as we can. Stay alert. In case of emergency call police,” the FBI announced Thursday night.
Ocean County is home to one of the largest Orthodox Jewish populations in America outside of Brooklyn. A large Orthodox Jewish community in Lakewood and surrounding towns is estimated to consist of about 70,000.
“In response to the statement issued by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, warning of an broad threat to synagogues in New Jersey, the Lakewood Police Department along with assistance from the Ocean County Sheriff’s Department has increased patrols, in both a marked and unmarked capacity,” the Lakewood Police Department said today. “In addition, we have also deployed specially trained rapid response officers. Although there isn’t any specific information pertaining to Lakewood, we are in communication with our local, county and federal counterparts in order to ensure the greatest protection to those we serve.”
Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley Billhimer said his office is also on high alert this weekend.
“You may notice an increased law enforcement presence around temples and synagogues today as we continue to coordinate our response to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s warning of a “credible threat to synagogues in New Jersey.” The information is not specific to any specific part of New Jersey, but it is credible,” Billhimer said. “We are coordinating with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, New Jersey Office of Homeland Security & Preparedness, New Jersey State Police, Ocean County Sheriff’s Office and all of our local police departments to take all security precautions to protect our facilities and houses of worship in Ocean County.”