SWAT teams have become a weapon that anyone — including sociopaths — can deploy against innocent law-abiding citizens.
In a growing-but-disturbing practice called “swatting,” a bad guy places a false 911 call to police designed to provoke a SWAT-team raid on an unsuspecting person, perhaps an enemy or even a friend. Swatting is now so common that legislators are writing laws against it.
“Perpetrators of these hoaxes purposefully use our emergency responders to harm their victims,” US Rep. Katherine Clark (D-Massachusetts) told the press. “These false reports are dangerous and costly, and have resulted in serious injury to victims and law enforcement. It is time to update our laws to appropriately address this crime.”
The FBI estimates that around 400 swatting incidents occur each year, The Framingham Patch reported. An April swatting incident in Framingham prompted Clark to propose a new law, the Interstate Swatting Hoax Act, which would make hoaxes a federal crime punishable with a sentence of up to 20 years in prison.