Gray introduces bill to make ‘swatting’ a felony

Published: Apr. 3, 2023 at 12:19 PM EDT
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ALBANY, New York (WWNY) - A bill introduced by a north country member of the New York state Assembly would make “swatting” a more serious crime.

Assemblyman Scott Gray says his bill would make swatting — now only prosecuted as a misdemeanor —a felony.

It comes in the wake of dozens of swatting incidents reported in the state last week, including several targeting schools in the north country. The assemblyman said last week’s statewide total was 36.

“Last week we saw an unfortunate example of why my anti-swatting bill is critical to ward off swatting calls,” Gray said in a news release.

“Swatting is a false report to the police with the intent to cause chaos and disruption, as well as divert police resources, taking away valuable resources that should be used to stop actual crimes,” Gray said. “Swatting places a heightened burden on law enforcement and introduces trauma to children, families, and communities needlessly.”

Swatting is the practice in which someone calls police to report serious, but false criminal activity. Police respond to the alleged scene, often deploying SWAT teams.

The practice diverts police resources from combatting actual crime as well as endangering people at the false crime scene when authorities show up with loaded weapons.