Experts: Caller likely former or current student

Posted at 8:00 AM, Sep 18, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-18 11:00:49-04

School safety and security experts say a teen who wants attention likely phoned in threats to several San Diego high schools on Thursday.

However, that need for attention could lead to criminal charges.

RELATED: 10 SD Unified schools locked down over threats

Since the caller made threats over the phone, Team 10 learned that it's likely investigators are trying to track the number. That method doesn't always work, according to ABC News crime and terrorism analyst Brad Garrett.

"If the person is clever, they can spoof their number or alter their number so it shows up as a different number on the phone," Garrett said in a satellite interview with Team 10 from New York.

Garrett said law enforcement, in particular the FBI, are well-versed in how to get around that. He also told Team 10 that in a matter of hours, law enforcement will likely know the origin of the calls.

Another possible place investigators will look for clues is on social media. If it is a young person who made the threats, he or she likely had the help of friends, and someone will brag about it on social media or develop a conscience and report the caller to authorities.

According to a study by the National School Safety and Security Services, school threats were up 158 percent in the first half of the 2014-15 school year. California was second only to Ohio in the number of school threats -- Ohio recorded 64, California had 60.

The study concluded that social media and electronic devices are fueling the threats, because 37 percent of those threats were sent electronically.