Sergeant Scott Hyatt says the increase is partly the result of people being more inclined to call when they see something suspicious. But, he says, there are also more people making or owning things that could blow up.
“We’ve had the whole gamut from kids just messing around with chemical reaction bombs, to dudes trying to make homemade bombs –IEDs- to use against other subjects in the drug trade, to guys that are just collecting military stuff," he says. "And, it turns out that, what they thought was inert was actually a live grenade they had come across.”
In the six weeks following that event, the Sacramento Bomb Squad responded to ten suspicious-looking devices containing batteries, wires or tubes. None were found to be explosive.
Five calls were for old military explosives, including an anti-aircraft artillery shell and two grenades.
Sergeant Hyatt says officers have to treat every call like it’s a bomb.
“If someone’s calling us out there and is suspicious enough for them to call the bomb squad, we’re going to treat it as a live device until we get to a point where we can say, ‘O.K., this is not a device," he says. "If that involves hand entry –pulling stuff away, bringing it out, x-raying it, up to shooting it with a water cannon, or counter-charging it.”
The bomb squad also responds to places where something has already blown up. At the end of June, the squad had to neutralize several gallons of liquids after a man was burned making rocket fuel.