A recent case of ‘swatting’ in Toronto has put the dangerous prank back in the spotlight. Swatting was a little known phenomenon until a rash of celebrity and online gaming attacks brought across North America.
Ottawa Police describe the term as a way of engaging emergency services with false calls in order to enact revenge on an individual or organization by causing armed police SWAT teams to respond to a situation thinking there is an active shooter at the scene.
In Canada, swatting isn’t new.
In 2014, four teens, two from Ontario, one from Quebec and one from B.C. were charged following an investigation into swatting incidents across Canada and the U.S.
- A 16-year-old Ottawa teen faced 60 charges for alleged involvement in dozens of incidents across North America designed to get a police SWAT team to respond.
- A Milton, Ont., teen was arrested and charged with public mischief after an April 2014 incident that led to the evacuation of Jean Vanier Catholic Secondary School in the community west of Toronto.
- A 15-year-old boy from Laval, Que., north of Montreal, was arrested and charged with allegedly using a telephone or a computer to target a shopping centre, two private homes, and the same school twice.
- A 17-year-old boy from the Metro Vancouver suburb of Coquitlam pleaded guilty last week to more than a dozen charges of extortion, public mischief and breach of recognizance after alleged swatting incidents in Fort Meade and Winter Haven, Fla. between September and November 2014.