Many trends have come and gone, some of which have been more hideous and dangerous than others. In fact, as police officers and emergency officials are dealing with another critical concern, one of the latest trends involves setting no limits on what people will do to garner the excitement. The name of this trend is currently known as swatting.
Initially, some of top odd calls that raised an immediate alarm to 911 responders consisted of calls that swept the country, ranging from states like Florida to New York. The calls that gained national attention included:
A caller who was reported as contacting 911 to tell police that he had shot his co-worker. According to this report, the co-worker was not only shot while visiting a Colorado video game business, there were also rumblings of having hostages. Im addition to the Colorado’s shootings and hostage situation being unfounded, the police were also tricked by people of an unknown identity. The unidentified person called officers in to look for a Florida father that was reported by his child as being drunk and using a wielding machine gun to threaten his family. Other rash and seemingly random rash calls were made to authorities.
Unfortunately, in each of these cases, police officials dispatched Swat teams to the location only to find out that there were no wounded victims or other incidents occurring. Instead, the officers found people that were only playing video games because they were being targeted as victims of the hoax, swatting.
Initially, these types of hoax were targeting people from the celebrity community. Based on information from authorities, the primary reason for engaging in these types of destructive games were to retaliate against their opponents. By attracting thousands of spectators at a time, everyone involved could watch a minute by minute theatre of a video image of players being arrested by the police. According to statements made by a research psychologist, Dr. John Grohol, the perpetrators were creating similar events that created an ongoing online reality television show. These kinds of shows feature the opponents that played video games as well as real cops.
To make sure the caller’s identities are protected so that policies authorities cannot track the hoax back to its origination, the caller is not based locally, but from hundreds to thousands of miles away. The contact information that these players secured came from a diversity of sources including phone services providers that track down unlisted numbers and the traditional phone directory. Whatever the case, one of their main tasks is to ensure 911 dispatchers cannot track the call to the opponent. Concealing the perpetrators identity is only one of the top reasons for tricking 911 dispatchers. The main goal was to send emergency responders to the site, especially since their main objective is to make it appear as if the call is coming from the opponent that they are targeting.
Due to these and other associated activities, authorities are estimating that these hoax have cost cities like Long Beach, New York as much as $100,000 in expenses. Specifically, when these players may send a swat team to the home of a teenager that is simply playing a video game in the privacy of their own homes. For instance, on August 31, in Braden, Florida, a team of officers (15 staff members) were sent to rescue a young girl from her father that was not only drunk, but also armed. In reality, however, when the police officers arrived, they found the father playing minecraft in the presence of a live online audience
As many of these problems have escalated and increased over time, cops can attest to a wide diversity of harmful and distractive events. From players being charged with federal crimes due to calls that were made to at least 4 additional states to participating actively in games that involve live streaming, these types of crimes are being investigated on numerous levels in the police field including by the FBI. Also, because fantasy is intersecting with reality, these competitive games are meant to be won at all cost. Unfortunately, in real life the swatting games are costing a lot of additional money in revenues and the people can use the staff on other critical issues that the people need.