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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Officials may face harsher penalties for hoax police calls due to recent ‘swatting’ incidents

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ATLANTA – A⁢ recent string of false reports of shootings at the homes of public‌ officials has sparked concern and calls for stricter penalties against swatting in more states. U.S. Sen. Rick Scott of Florida, Boston Mayor Michelle Wu, Georgia U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, and Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost are among the victims of these disturbing incidents.

Several Georgia lawmakers targeted say‌ they want increased penalties for swatting, like ⁣laws⁤ enacted this year in Ohio and‍ Virginia. Similar bills are ​pending in other states and​ Congress.

Understanding ‘Swatting’

Swatting is the act of making a prank call to emergency services to prompt a response at a particular address. The goal is to get authorities,⁢ particularly a SWAT team, to show‌ up. Calls in multiple ⁣states in⁣ recent ‍days featured the voice of a man calling himself “Jamal,” claiming he ⁣had shot his wife because she was sleeping with another man and saying he was holding the boyfriend hostage, demanding $10,000.

Georgia state Sen. Clint Dixon said the incident at his house in Buford on Christmas evening was “quite startling” for himself, his wife, and three children. “I was watching a little football and my wife was upstairs packing for a trip, and all‌ of ⁤a sudden, I heard her, you know, start yelling, ‘There’s police running at the door.’ She saw on our Ring doorbell,” he told WABE.

Recent Targets

A man in‌ New York called the Georgia suicide​ hotline just before 11 a.m. Monday, claiming that he had shot his girlfriend at Greene’s ​home in Rome, ⁣Georgia, and was going to kill himself next, said Kelly Madden, with Rome ⁤police. The call was quickly transferred to police when suicide⁢ hotline responders recognized the congresswoman’s ⁣address.

Scott wrote on X that‌ police were sent to his home in Naples, Florida, while he⁣ and his⁣ wife were out at dinner on Wednesday night.​ Police said they met ​Scott’s private security service at the home, but didn’t find anything out of place.

“These criminals wasted the time & resources of our law enforcement in a sick attempt to terrorize my family,” Scott wrote.

Addressing the Issue

Hundreds of cases of swatting occur annually, with‌ some using‍ caller ID spoofing to disguise their number. And those targeted extend far beyond public officials. The FBI said earlier this year ​that it had created a national database in ​conjunction with other law ​enforcement agencies to‍ track swatting incidents nationwide. Police had for months‍ reported a huge surge in fake claims about active shooters at schools and colleges. There have also been reports‌ of hundreds of swatting incidents and bomb threats against synagogues and other Jewish​ institutions since the Israel-Hamas war began.

Response and Prevention

Police are investigating the recent threats. No arrests have yet been reported. Ohio earlier this year ⁤made it a felony offense ⁣to report a false emergency that prompts ⁣response by law enforcement. And Virginia increased the penalties for swatting to up to 12 months in jail. Georgia state senator, Clint Dixon, said in a statement he planned to introduce‍ a bill during the upcoming legislative session to strengthen penalties for false reporting and⁤ misuse of police forces.

“This issue goes beyond politics — it’s about public safety and preserving the‍ integrity of ‍our institutions,” ​he said.

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Truth Media Network
Truth Media Network
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2 COMMENTS

  1. Agree – Irresponsible prank calls endanger innocent lives and waste valuable resources. Stricter punishments for officials involved in hoax police calls are necessary to deter this dangerous trend.

  2. Agree – Hoax police calls pose a serious threat to public safety and should be met with severe consequences. It’s crucial to discourage these dangerous pranks and ensure the protection of innocent lives.

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