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Citizens call for stricter penalties for ‘swatting’ (6/10/2015 – 218 citizens, 467 responses)

Friday, July 3, 2015 23:58
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(Before It's News)

By Jacquelyn Benson

It’s a disturbing new trend: prank calls aimed at eliciting high-level law enforcement responses. Known as ‘swatting’, the practice has attracted legislative attention in some states, where penalties for the crime have been increased to allow perpetrators to be fined the full cost of the response to their hoaxes. Several recent cases have taken place in NH, including a false report of hostages and bombs in a Stratham gas station earlier this month. In light of this, the Live Free or Die Alliance posed the question to Facebook members, “Should ‘swatters’ have to pay for the cost of police response to hoax emergency calls?”


This LFDA discussion was highly focused. A total of 93% of respondents answered the question either directly or with a concurrence, and of these a 77% majority supported increased fines for ‘swatting’ with 23% opposed. Of the remaining respondents, only 4% opted to discuss the subject in broader terms while 3% commented on unrelated issues. In sum, 218 citizens participated in the discussion with a total of 467 responses.


Those in favor of increasing penalties for hoax emergency calls argued that heftier punishments were justified. “If we are serious about making people understand the cost of their illicit activities, making them pay the actual cost is a good first step,” one commenter wrote. “Up the fine, and if anyone is hurt in the process of this raid, hold them responsible for any injury incurred on either side, including jail time if that's the usual penalty,” another respondent said.


Opponents argued that higher fines would be an ineffective deterrent, or questioned whether a new law would be necessary. “I don't think a fine is an effective consequence, given many people won't pay it. I'd have them fulfilling community service hours to repay the waste of resources,” one commenter said. “Should they first try to enforce the current law instead of making new ones that they won't enforce?” another asked.


The small percentage of respondents addressing their comments to broader issues discussed SWAT responses more generally. “I think SWAT teams need to chill out and LEOs [law enforcement officers] need to realize there isn't a devil behind every stone,” one respondent wrote. “Why not just get rid of SWAT teams and really save money for the people?” another suggested.



The nonprofit, nonpartisan LFDA takes no position on this or any issue. This report is presented as a summary of citizen testimony. As New Hampshire’s Virtual Town Hall, the LFDA community, numbering more than 68,000, provides objective information on state issues, promotes the civil exchange of opinions, and communicates views to elected officials. To learn more about this issue or the LFDA, visit


Jacquelyn Benson is an editor with the Live Free or Die Alliance.

Live Free or Die Alliance


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