The latest in a growing number of "swatting" incidents unnecessarily brought a squadron of police and tactical team members to an otherwise quiet Maywood neighborhood just off Route 17.
A phony caller told police he had just shot his wife twice in the chest and was holding his neighbor at gunpoint after finding them having an affair shortly before 3 p.m. Sunday, Maywood Police Chief Terence R. Kenny said.
Borough police converged on West Magnolia Avenue with their colleagues from Rochelle Park. A Bergen County Regional SWAT team was summoned.
Police got the shocked residents out unharmed, cleared the residence and were gone a short time later.
"Swatting," as it's called, peaked nationwide about five or six years ago before subsiding somewhat. Incidents have increased dramatically over the past year or so, however – happening with regularity, for instance, at Hackensack High School.
Swatting exacts a toll on innocent residents, which is usually the intent. Often public figures and celebrities are targets. Sometimes it's simply an effort to tie up law enforcement, authorities say.
Deploying SWAT teams and additional personnel to unsuspecting victims’ homes and businesses -- as well as to schools that end up being locked down -- can unnecessarily terrify people and even put them in danger, police. It also diverts resources from potential areas of immediate need.
Many of the culprits call from out of state -- and sometimes even out of the country. They use programs that make it seem that the calls are coming from inside a particular house, school or other location.
The chief thanked Rochelle Park police and the SWAT team for their assistance. His detectives and their colleagues from the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office are investigating.
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