Finding Bomb Threat Suspect Using App May Not Be Possible, Say Police

The identity of the person who issued a bomb threat on anonymous social media app Yik Yak last week leading to the evacuation of Palisades High School remains a mystery.

Los Angeles Police Department Senior Lead Officer Michael Moore said finding the person who posted the message on Yik Yak can be a daunting task.

Moore told the Palisadian-Post he had not seen the message himself but said authorities take these types of incidents seriously.

The LAPD deployed resources to Pali High that could have been better used in other areas, he said.

The choice to evacuate the campus was made by school officials. How police respond to threats of this type is contingent on whether the order to evacuate has been issued by those responsible for the affected structure, he explained.

Although he did not have an estimate, Moore said the response from authorities was costly.

Unlike popular social media sites like Facebook, Yik Yak allows and is specifically designed for  users to post anonymously.

Moore said it would be impossbible to track the post on Yik Yak back to the suspect.

Someone knows who issued the fake threat, they need to do the right thing and tell authorities, Moore added.

Moore could not recall another incident in which the campus needed to be evacuated.

The company’s media representative said Yik Yak makes it “a point to work with law enforcement and other officials when a post is violent in nature.”

Linked to cases of bullying and threats of violence, Yik Yak, like others promising anonymity such as Whisper has stirred controversy on school campuses.

In response, Yik Yak engineers placed geographic-locking software on the application, preventing users from using the app near about 130,000 middle and high school campuses across the country, including ones in Pacific Palisades and Brentwood.

But despite the “locking” features, campuses are still affected by the use of Yik Yak, which is especially popular among college frats, where students post insults and crude remarks under the veil of anonymity.

The Washington Post reported that Emory University’s student government in Atlanta passed a resolution denouncing the app as “a platform for hate speech or harassment.”

Linked to cases of cyber bullying, the Boston Globe referred to Yik Yak as the bullying app of the day for high school students.

While finding a suspect who used Yik Yak in the commission of a crime can be challenging, arrests are being made.

In New York, a University at Albany football player was arrested Wednesday for making threats over Yik Yak.

A representative from Yik Yak told the Post that the company is aware of the Pali High incident and is cooperating with local authorities.

In California, the crime of false reporting of an emergency carries a punishment of up to one year in county jail and no more than a $1,000 fine.