City Council Panel OKs Reward Offers, Stiffer Penalties In ‘Swatting’ Incidents
LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Individuals who make false 911 calls to high-profile residences in Los Angeles may soon have to shell out big bucks if they’re caught.
KNX 1070’s Vytas Safronikas reports lawmakers are considering a proposal to crack down on so-called “swatting” incidents.
The Los Angeles City Council’s Public Safety Committee has recommended that the full City Council approve a motion that would require convicted “swatting” perpetrators to pay restitution to the LAPD for all costs incurred while answering a false alarm.
The practice is referred to as “swatting” because SWAT units sometimes have to be called – often to celebrity homes – in response to the reports.
The Committee also backed a proposed reward to anyone providing information that leads to an arrest and conviction of the “swatting” perpetrators.
Councilman Mitch Englander, who first introduced the motion in April, said the effort is a top priority for the Committee.
“There’s a growing proliferation of people trying to have fun with ‘swatting calls, and it’s not fun because it’s very expensive and ultimately, somebody’s going to get hurt,” Englander said.
A similar bill was passed by the state Assembly in August that would add a fine of up to $10,000 to cover the costs of emergency mobilization for false 911 calls.
In April, the LAPD announced it would no longer offer immediate information to the media on “swatting” calls, claiming news coverage often sparked more false calls. The media will now have to file a public records request, which can take 10 days.
It was not immediately clear when the City Council would vote on the motion.