SILVER SPRING TOWNSHIP, Pa. (WHTM)- A large police presence in a Cumberland County neighborhood turned out to be the result of a “swatting” call.
Swatting is when someone makes a false phone call to emergency officials to report crimes, prompting a response of armed police officers.
“Our 911 call center was contacted by another help center saying we just received a call from a male who said he is depressed and stated he just committed some very violent acts against family members and was currently still doing other acts to another family,” said Chief Christopher Raubenstine of Silver Spring Township Police.
The incident turned out to be a hoax, and no one was in danger.
“It is becoming a growing trend,” said Chief Raubenstine.
Schools in Pennsylvania and across the state were targeted by swatting calls days after a deadly shooting at an elementary school in Nashville.
“There are numerous apps which will hide the caller’s number or, they can spoof a number, pretend it shows up on caller ID as if it’s a different number, oftentimes, they are routed through the internet,” said John Sancenito, president of INA.
Sancenito says many of the swatting calls made against homes are the result of online gaming.
“People had an argument during a game or someone felt offended on social media so they use this as a tactic to get back at them,” said Sancenito.
Police in Silver Spring Township say the home was cleared and had been vacant.
“That one percent, that five percent, you have to act on it that way because you can’t have it be the one time you’re wrong and you didn’t treat it seriously,” said Chief Raubenstine.
Silver Spring Township Police say no charges have been filed at this time.