San Mateo police are urging residents against making false reports following an incident early Thursday morning involving a reported shooting with barricaded hostages that turned out to be a hoax.
Officers responded at 2 a.m. Thursday to reports of a shooting with a barricaded suspect and hostages in the 2300 block of Clipper Street, and notified the immediate neighborhood of the high-risk incident, San Mateo Sgt. Dave Norris said.
Once the residents were contacted, however, the situation was determined to be a falsely reported hoax, Norris said.
This incident is similar to an emerging trend in Southern California and nationwide called “Swatting”, where callers falsely report serious crimes, resulting in a huge deployment of public safety resources in a heightened tactical response to unknowing, innocent people, according to Norris.
Such incidents create enormous potential for innocent community members and public safety personnel to get hurt, and diverts critical public safety resources from other duties, Norris said.
False reporting of criminal activity is a crime, and can unnecessarily expose the community to danger. The San Mateo Police Department will seek out, identify, and hold accountable those who make false reports and trigger an undue tactical response.
False reporting of emergencies can carry jail sentences of up to six months and fines up to $1000. In reports of high-risk dangerous emergencies such as the report on Clipper Strett, if serious injury had resulted to anyone as a result of the emergency response, fines of up to $10,000 and incarceration for up to three years may apply.
Please continue to report true emergencies, suspicious activity, and other crimes to the San Mateo Police Department.
Emergency – 911
SMPD Dispatch – 650-522-7700
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