Bill Would Crack Down On 911 Pranksters

Calling the police to celebrity homes may be good fun for some, but pranksters could soon pay the price for calling wolf.

A new bill has been pushed forward that would require perpetrators of "swatting" -- or false 911 emergencies -- to reimburse the police for the cost of responding to the hoaxes.

"Swatting drains vital resources from law enforcement and puts officers and citizens in dangerous situations," Senator Ted Lieu of Torrance said. Lieu, who proposed the legislation, was a victim of swatting himself in April.

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Also in April, pranksters reported an assault at the home of record producer and rapper Sean Combs, a shooting at Rihanna's home, shots fired at the home of Justin Timberlake, and a homicide at the home of actress Selena Gomez .

Estimates of the cost per response range from several thousand to more than $10,000. Under Lieu's bill, a person convicted of making a false emergency report would be held liable for all costs associated with the response by law enforcement.

The bill will be reviewed next by the Assembly Appropriations Committee.


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