New “swatting” prank call trend targets celebrities

“Swatting” is the latest crime trend targeting celebrities such as Miley Cyrus, Charlie Sheen and Ashton Kutcher.

“Swatting” is a form of prank calling where people call the police and report fake crimes occurring at a celebrity’s home.

The police are led to believe a dangerous situation is happening and send a police S.W.A.T. team to the home.

I believe “swatting” is wrong because it wastes police time and resources when there is no real danger and they should be helping people in real need.

“‘Swatting’ is a huge waste of time to the S.W.A.T. teams who have been trained to deal with real life, threatening situations, not prank calls,” said CLU sophomore Taylor Faust.

John Myers, a public relations professor at California Lutheran University, believes “swatting” needs to be handled as soon as possible before it leads to bigger issues.

“Right now, it may seem fun that they are picking at celebrities, but what if they took it too far and next it’s a school, or a hospital? You could create community panic in a heartbeat and then it wouldn’t just waste resources of law enforcement or first responders, now you could be wasting all sorts of public resources. It could really go out of hand,” said Myers. “Counties, and law enforcements especially, are just strapped for funds. The last thing they need is to be chasing prank calls.”

Kutcher, an actor famous for his prank television show “Punk’d,” was ironically a victim of swatting. Fortunately for Kutcher, his prank caller was recently caught. The 12-year-old boy is now being tried on two felony counts and is heading to juvenile court, according to MSN News.

The trouble is, minors have often been found to be the source of the swatting. While most 12-year-olds are prank calling a crush to ask if their refrigerator is running, these minors are enticing the police to go to S.W.A.T. team extremes.

Junior Callie Paul believes the young offenders should receive repercussions for their actions.

“I don’t think it’s a serious enough offense to prosecute minors for it, but they should get some sort of slap on the wrist,” said Paul. “Something needs to be done so they learn their lesson.”

Faust believes there needs to be a tighter handle on the minors’ actions.

“There should be some sort of punishment or warning given to the minors who make the calls. They need to realize that there are times when situations that they make up can be real and not something to joke about,” said Faust.

I agree with Faust and believe these minors should be prosecuted for their prank calling. It is a very serious offense. It is breaking the law by falsely reporting crimes. These calls interrupt the community and law enforcement and cause unneeded trouble.

“It creates a public relations issue for law enforcement, as they have to get the word out themselves that they will not tolerate this behavior. The law enforcement would have to really work with the district attorneys to say that, whether it is 12 or 18 or 30-year-old prank callers, these people are prosecuted and dealt with so that they can put an end to it,” said Myers.

The recent apprehension of Kutcher’s prank caller brings hope that these ridiculous pranks  may come to a stop.

I hope that the “swatting” trend dies down and goes away. This is the last thing anyone needs.


Louie DeMetre
Staff Writer
Published Feb. 13, 2013