A Trend That’s Dangerous: Swatting
A recent trend is raising alarm bells among citizens and police alike: swatting. According to the FBI Las Vegas Field Office, swatting is actually a type of harassment that involves deceiving providers of emergency services so that they send special response teams to an address under the impression that an emergency is under way. The prank calls bring SWAT teams and others rushing to a scene where nothing unusual is occurring, but since officers don’t know the location is safe, weapons are brandished and the potential for accidents is very high.
Specifics on Swatting
What kinds of calls to emergency services are we talking about? Sometimes callers claim there are bombs present in a building; other times they claim there’s a dangerous hostage situation unfolding.
Here in the Silver State, swatting calls have resulted in chaos in schools when callers report an active shooter on the loose. The hoax understandably terrifies parents, teachers, and students, having seen countless real shooting incidents across the country time and again. The disruption to learning is another byproduct of these traumatic incidents. And there’s no question that police resources are wasted as the response to these incidents could be used elsewhere.
While the calls might involve public areas such as schools, airports, and businesses, more and more swatting calls are directed to the homes or offices of well-known politicians:
- Brandon Williams, a republican from New York, was surprised when police notified him that they’d had a call reporting a crisis in his home. The family was instructed by police to assemble in the kitchen and to keep their hands in view when police arrived.
- Florida’s Rick Scott was swatted as well, when a call was placed claiming a woman had been shot by her husband with an AR-15.
- Marjorie Taylor Greene, the representative from Georgia, claims to have been swatted no fewer than eight times, the latest of which was on Christmas day.
- The secretary of state from Maine, Shenna Bellows, was swatted by a man who claimed to have broken into her home.
Penalties for Swatting
If you think swatting is an amusing way to watch people scramble, perhaps the penalties for making prank 911 calls will get your attention. Swatting is both a state and a federal crime, and could result in substantial fines and years behind bars.
If you’ve been charged with activities relating to prank 911 calls, you could be looking at serious changes to your lifestyle. The aggressive, experienced Las Vegas criminal defense attorneys at Lobo Law will fight for the best possible outcomes for you. Schedule a confidential consultation in our office today.