Greenwich Police received two calls on Monday in which a person falsely described a violent domestic incident with hostages taken. The calls came in at about 6:00pm, and although the initial call lacked some credibility, officers were dispatched to investigate.
According to a statement from Greenwich Police, the Shift Commander controlled the scene to locate any victims.
River Road between East Putnam Ave and Robertson Lane was closed for little over one hour during the investigation. Based upon all the available facts their investigators are pursuing the incident as a hoax with its originator currently unknown.
Unfortunately, there has been a national trend of which persons have misused the resources of a police department in hoax emergency calls. Often referred to as “swatting,” a hoax call is placed to emergency responders in order to draw a response from law enforcement, usually a “SWAT” or tactical team. The individuals who engage in this activity use technology to make it appear that the emergency call is coming from the victim’s phone. Sometimes ‘swatting’ is done for revenge, other times as a prank. The FBI believes that most who engage in ‘swatting’ are serial offenders who are also involved in other cyber-crimes such as identity theft and credit card fraud who exploit the inherent anonymity of the internet plus the readily availability of technology to mask their true identity. Hoax calls, or making false reports to law enforcement, are serious crimes which are frightening to the target and surrounding community, cause an unnecessary drain on resources, and potentially puts lives in danger.
The Greenwich Police Department will continue to investigate this very serious incident and attempt to identify its perpetrators.