ROCHESTER, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Sen. Charles Schumer is introducing legislation to deter “swatting,” a new crime trend that’s costing law enforcement thousands of dollars.
Swatting is when a phone call is made in an effort to get police SWAT teams deployed to an unsuspecting person’s home. Not only does swatting waste taxpayer dollars, but it also terrifies residents and bystanders who fall victim to the attacks and often leads to temporary street closures that hurt local businesses.
“Swatting is a new situation in crime fighting where somebody calls into the police a situation of danger that’s made up, that’s false,” Schumer told WCBS 880. “Some do it for prank reasons — that creates danger in itself as the police rush to the area — but some do it that are criminals and are wishing to divert police away from one place so they can go rob or do something criminal in another place.”
There has been a rash of swatting attacks nationwide, including several recent cases in the Tri-State area.
Over the weekend, a New Jersey man was live-streaming video on YouTube when a SWAT team showed up at his door. Police responded to the home in Keyport around 1:30 p.m. Sunday after an anonymous call claimed someone inside had stabbed a woman and was holding hostages. Police quickly determined the call was a hoax.
Schumer will be in Rochester, New York, on Monday to talk about the issue. He’s introducing legislation that would increase penalties for the perpetrators and make them pay restitution to police.
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