'I just don't feel safe anymore': Violent threats against lawmakers explode following Jan. 6 riot
Capitol Insurrectionists (Shutterstock)

Capitol police are scrambling to keep pace with a surge of violent threats against lawmakers.

Five years ago, in 2016, the department investigated 902 threats, but those threats increased dramatically during the presidency of Donald Trump to 5,206 in 2018 and 8,613 last year -- and total threats are on pace to double this year, reported the Los Angeles Times.

"It's difficult, and particularly difficult for the family," said Rep. John Garamendi (D-CA). "There are risks in this job. There's no doubt about it. We spend millions of dollars to let everybody know who we are, so you become a target."

Capitol police investigated 4,135 threats against Congress members in the first three months of this year, including an anonymous video sent to Rep. Norma Torres (D-CA) of someone following her car and then displaying a 9 mm handgun.

"I just don't feel safe anymore," said Torres, who has moved into a Washington, D.C., high-rise building with 24-hour security.

Torres was subjected to threats earlier this year after arguing with El Salvador President Nayib Bukele, and she used a gun to scare off some men outside her California home, which prompted Capitol police to spend five days living there.

Threats seem to be escalating since the violent Jan. 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol, and Capitol police are opening satellite offices in Northern California and Florida, where most of the threats originate.

"My rule is you have to take them at their word, even if a lot of them may not mean it," said Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA). "The second you don't take them at their word is the second you could see someone in your family hurt."