Burbank police are looking into a ‘swatting’ type incident that occurred today around 1:35 pm in the 1800 block of Grismer. Swatting is when someone calls in falsely to the police to report a crime in progress, usually a shooting.
Lt. Claudio Losacco of the Burbank Police Department, said “the caller stated that there had been a shooting. Officers responded and quickly made contact with the residents. We determined there was no shooting at the residence and all occupants were safe. It appears someone, who was not at the residence, falsely reported the incident.”
Swatting incidents have been very dangerous in the past in different parts of the country. Officers who arrive on the scene have to believe what they have been told and are ready for any type of incident that may occur including a suspect on the scene or a hostage situation. According to the FBI, there were over 400 reported swatting calls responded to last year. In 2017 in Wichita, a resident was killed in his home during an incident.
While Burbank has had to deal with these types of calls in the past, there have not been any recently according to Losacco, who takes false reporting very seriously. “We will be conducting an investigation into the call to our Communications Center today, in an effort to identify the caller and hold them accountable for their actions. Falsely reporting a crime is a misdemeanor and if someone is injured during the response, it can be charged as a felony.”
In California, besides a felony conviction, someone can also be liable for up to $10,000 for making the call and the expenses occurred by the department responding.
“These types of calls put our officers in danger and use up valuable resources, including fire trucks, paramedics and police helicopter, which should be used or available elsewhere in the City. We train on how to respond to these calls, which includes the possibility they are being falsely reports to us. Residents should follow the directions of officers on-scene until the area is deemed safe.” said Losacco