LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — Lansing police responded to a shooting call Thursday, only to find nothing but a distraught homeowner when they arrived.
Hoax calls like the one Lansing police responded to are nothing new, but the FBI is reporting an increase in so-called SWAT calls.
SWAT calls are simply people making fake calls to the police in hopes of causing chaos in the victim’s home. In some cases, police respond by using excessive force, creating potentially deadly situations
Lansing police responded to a call Thursday night where the alleged caller claimed they had killed a girl. Due to the nature of the call, police used a lot of force, but quickly discovered it was a hoax
In some cases, such fake calls have even resulted in the death of the homeowner.
“We may have to forcefully crash into home base on a call that has or is still coming. And we may end up unintentionally injuring someone inside or damaging their property,” LPD Capt. Christopher Baldwin said.
Baldwin says the risk of being hit ultimately rests with homeowners, and false calls take essential tools off the street for those who may need them.
“It takes every resource and especially a call like last night at Rayburn. Where it was mentioned that someone had died. It took all the resources of pretty much the entire department to try to immediately handle that call and make sure people were safe,” Baldwin said.
While a false call sounds innocuous enough, Baldwin says it’s not.
If you call, you could end up behind bars.
“Under state law, if you report a misdemeanor that’s happening, it’s charged as a misdemeanor. If you report a felony, it will be charged as a felony. I believe it starts as a four-year prison term,” Baldwin said.
Captain Baldwin says anyone who wants to make false statements like last night will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.