According to MPBN, a “swatting” incident likely took place in Standish over the weekend.
In short, “swatting” is a prank in which law enforcement officers are summoned to what sounds like a dire emergency situation. In the Standish incident, someone had falsely reported that he had shot his girlfriend and taken some hostages. As a hoax, swatting is intended to provoke police forces, which are becoming increasingly militarized, to respond and serve as props in an elaborate, costly and incredibly dangerous joke. The Standish incident in particular resulted in the hoax victims getting handcuffed at gunpoint and cost authorities (and ultimately tax payers) between $8,000 and $10,000.
Wait. This is a thing?
I am newish to it too, and didn’t know about swatting until one of my favorite podcasts, Reply All, covered the phenomenon back in March. The episode, I’ve Killed People and I Have Hostages, is riveting and well worth a listen. It spotlights people who have been the victims of terrifying swatting incidents.
As swatting is a prank popularly pulled on people live-streaming gamers, there are a surprising amount of swatting incidents caught on video.
VICE News also covered the phenomenon last year.
The folks at Reply All worked with Al Rotches to create this infographic, which defines swatting and details how to avoid becoming a victim of swatting:
Their full article, How Not to Get Swatted, can be found on Digg. It is incredibly robust and full of useful information.
SWAT Photo Credit: Troy R. Bennett | BDN