Police warn about new trend called ‘swatting’

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SAN ANTONIO, Tex. — Police are warning the public about a dangerous new trend called “swatting.”

The hoax begins with a call to 911 to draw a response from law enforcement — including a SWAT team — to an unsuspecting home.

“It’s dangerous for everyone involved: the public, individuals whose house we get called out to and for the police officers,” said San Antonio police Chief William McManus.

During the fake emergency calls, the hoaxers use technology to make it appear that the emergency call is coming from the victim’s phone.

The scenarios described to police are usually life and death situations.

“They could say anything. ‘Someone is being held hostage’ (or) ‘someone is going to commit suicide,’” McManus said.

SAPD has only had one swatting call but McManus says other departments haven’t been as fortunate.

The one and only call came last Friday, when someone reported a hostage situation on the city’s North Side of the city.

“There are a variety of reasons that someone would do this — to get even with someone, to play a prank on someone,” said McManus.

No one was hurt in Friday’s incident but McManus says it was a waste of resources.

“There’s a lot of people (who) are called out and you could very easily put a dollar figure on it and it’s not cheap,” McManus said.

McManus said anyone caught swatting could face serious charges — even federal charges.

“(They could be charged with) abusive 911 calls, false alarms or reports and then unauthorized use of telecommunications,” McManus said.

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4 comments

  • Test

    Of all the people it’s “dangerous” for the police are the last on the list, they’re the ones with machine guns and tanks. The real danger is to the home occupants and neighbors. Police departments need to do a better job of scaling their responses appropriately for the actual danger. It’s almost NEVER appropriate to send a SWAT team to a residence. If there is an active shooter there will be many 911 calls not just one flaky spoofed one. Besides, the e911 system should not be so easy to spoof. We have the technology let’s use it.

  • Anonymous

    The real threat IS the police, they don’t use any critical thinking skills they just look at it as an opportunity to suit up and grab all their military equipment and ‘deploy’. Get a grip, this is America, if you wanna play warrior then go fight in some stupid war torn country, but don’t bring war to our country so you can have your toys.

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