Law enforcement

New Jersey Lawmakers Toughen Penalties for ‘Swatting'

The New Jersey Legislature is sending Gov. Chris Christie a bill increasing penalties for people who place hoax phone calls to police.

It's called "swatting."

The bill's passage came Monday. It comes after several incidents across the state in which people falsely called 911 to draw law enforcement or SWAT teams to a particular place.

Assemblyman Paul Moriarty first introduced the bill in November. But it was after the measure received media attention in April that the police arrived at his house in what he says was an apparent swat attempt.

Lawmakers say swatting is done for revenge or as a prank and has its origins in online gaming. Swatters use technology to make it appear as if the emergency call is originating from the phone of the intended target.

Under current law, the penalty for making a hoax police call could be a fine of up to $15,000, a prison term of three to five years, or both. This pending measure calls for fines up to $150,000, a prison term of five to 10 years or both.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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