"Swatting" prank sends swarm of cops on phony house call in Richmond

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SWAT-officer

It started in Los Angeles a few years ago, when fake calls about perilous situations sent SWAT officers out to famous people’s home, and now the trend known as “swatting” has come to Metro Vancouver.

Early Sunday morning, the Richmond RCMP responded to a call indicating “something serious had happened at a home in the Steveston area,” according to CTV Vancouver.

When law enforcement arrived, they found a family sleeping peacefully inside their home.

The Richmond RCMP confirmed the call was indeed a hoax.

“Swatting” hoaxes create dangerous situations not only at the scene of the non-existent crime, but also for other residents served by the same law enforcement agencies who may experience a delay in response because numerous personnel have been deployed to handle the perceived emergency of the prank call.

“Had there been a critical incident somewhere else, a real critical incident where someone actually needed the police’s help, there would have been a time delay for us to get there,” Cpl. Stephanie Ashton of the Richmond RCMP told CTV Vancouver.

Pranksters caught swatting can face criminal charges.

The RCMP believe recent swatting incidents in Canada are tied to disputes started in online gaming platforms, which is what seems to be on trend in the U.S. in light of recent civilian swatting incidents of late.

Celebrity targets of swatting pranks include Miley Cyrus, Ashton Kutcher, Justin Bieber, Ryan Seacrest, Simon Cowell, Russell Brand, Chris Brown, and Tom Cruise.

Featured image: SWAT officer via Shutterstock

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Lindsay William-Ross Lindsay is a Senior Editor at Vancity Buzz, and currently runs the site's Food section. A fourth generation Vancouverite, she spent the last two decades in Los Angeles, where she was EIC of the city's top blog, earned her MA, attended culinary school, and was an English professor (among other things). Lindsay's first published piece was December 1980 in The Province; it was her letter to Santa. E-mail: lindsay@vancitybuzz.com
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