Technology has given teens in Utah and around the country unprecedented freedom, but technological innovations also mean that formerly harmless juvenile crimes can now land teens in serious trouble.
One new high-tech twist on prank calling is called “swatting.” These prank calls are placed when hackers, usually teens, place false emergency calls of serious crimes in progress. These calls can result in a huge police response to unsuspecting people’s homes.
The most recent high-profile swatting response resulted in a SWAT team descending upon the mansion of actor Ashton Kutcher. The “Two and a Half Men” star was on the set of his sitcom and rushed to his house to find dozens of emergency personnel and some very confused workers.
Authorities believe that a Southern Californian youth was responsible for the 911 call which claimed that a shooting was occurring at the actor’s mansion. Authorities failed to give details regarding youth, but instead chose to focus on the serious nature of this prank call crime.
“The swatting practice is extremely dangerous and places first responders and citizens in harm’s way,” a police spokesperson told CNN. Authorities believe that the juvenile is also responsible for a similar swatting call that targeted pop star Justin Bieber’s home a week later.
Source: CNN, “Kutcher-Bieber ‘swatting’ suspect arrested,” Alan Duke, Dec. 18, 2012