Seattle P.D. Provides Opt-In Registry To Help Stop SWATting Tragedies
SWATting, in my experience, is difficult to explain to people who do not already understand the concept. Calling the police SWAT Team on someone on the internet because you don't like them, they won a match you wanted to win, or because you think it's funny is entirely alien to a lot of people, and thus it never really gets as much attention as people think. That changed late last year when a SWATting incident lead to an entirely uninvolved man's death, leading police departments and legislators to start taking it more seriously. Now, the Seattle Police Department is taking a notable step.
Seattle P.D. has established an opt-in registry for residents of the city and outer-areas to make it harder to raise alarm bells about specific addresses. The idea is that someone who believes they would be at risk for SWATing can enter their address or the address of their studio, key in a text field to state "SWATTING CONCERNS," and wait for review and approval.
SWATting, for those unaware, is when a call is made to emergency services falsely stating than an urgent situation, such as a hostage situation, is occurring at an address. Usually it happens when a streamer is broadcasting, so the caller can watch the SWAT team arrive on camera, but has also been known to occur as an act of petty revenge for assumed transgressions.
Having the address on file does not change anything in the procedure beyond the officers going to the scene being aware that SWATting concerns are associated with that address. While not said in so many words, the implication is that the officers on the scene will know not to come in guns blazing without verifying something is actually happening. The website stresses that the speed of involvement will not be affected in any way.
"To our knowledge, no solution to this problem existed, so we engineered one," the website reads.
[Source: Ars Technica]