Schumer: Guilty Would Face Up To 8 Years In Prison, Pay Restitution To Law Enforcement

GARDEN CITY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Two New York lawmakers are trying to crack down on “swatting,” the growing trend in which someone reports a fake threat to provoke a massive police response.

Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., announced Monday he is submitting legislation to create stiffer penalties for swatting, CBS2’s Diane Macedo reported.

READ MORE: Wild Edge Rangers To Spoil Lundqvist Jersey Retirement

“The FBI has warned about the increase of swatting attacks sweeping across the country,” Schumer said. “We need a national response.”

Just last week, police evacuated hundreds of people from an office building at 200 Garden City Plaza because of a hoax report of a hostage situation.

Schumer said it was just one of 53 Long Island swatting incidents since 2014.

Charles Schumer holds a news conference in Garden City, Long Island, on April 27, 2015. (credit: CBS2)

Charles Schumer holds a news conference in Garden City, Long Island, on April 27, 2015. (credit: CBS2)

In one of those, Nassau County, Long Beach and Metropolitan Transportation Authority police surrounded a Long Beach home in April 2014 after a false 911 call said a man had shot several relatives inside.

Like most swatting cases, police said the caller may have been playing an online video game against someone in the house and wanted revenge after losing.

READ MORE: TIMELINE: Nor'easter Could Bring More Than A Foot Of Snow To Long Island & Jersey Shore; Up To 8 Inches To NYC

“In this … bizarre world of swatting, you get points for the helicopter, for the police cars, for the SWAT team, for the type of entry,” Michael Tagney, Long Beach police commissioner said then. “It’s very sophisticated. Unfortunately, it’s very dangerous.”

Swatting’s also very expensive. The FBI says every time the heavy equipment and skilled teams are deployed, it costs taxpayers thousands of dollars.

Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano said last week’s incident in Garden City cost the county $20,000, 1010 WINS’ Mona Rivera reported.

Under Schumer’s legislation, anyone convicted of swatting would face still penalties.

“If an individual is convicted of swatting they could face up to eight years in prison,” Schumer said, adding the guilty party would also be required to pay restitution to law enforcement agencies.

Rep. Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., was to introduce a similar bill in the House on Monday.

MORE NEWS: Nor'easter Triggers Blizzard Warning In Suffolk County, As New York Braces For Widespread Snowfall

Swatting has also been a concern in New Jersey. In the latest incident, investigators said an anonymous call claiming that two people were being held hostage in a Bergenfield dry cleaning business and had bombs strapped to them turned out to be a hoax.