NEW JERSEY: Crank callers beware – Gov. Christie signs ‘swatting’ bill

Gov. Chris Christie has signed a bill cracking down on “swatting.” The bill was introduced in response to a wave of swatting incidents where police were forced to respond to elaborate hoaxes instead of protecting residents from legitimate threats. Princeton School District schools have been targeted 10 times since April by “swatting” calls.
The law establishes swatting as a second-degree offense, increasing prison time and fines for committing this dangerous crime.
“Children and teachers in Princeton have fallen victim to swatting nearly a dozen times this year, as police and K9 units combed the halls. Robert Wood Johnson Hospital was forced to close their emergency room due to a false bomb threat that put patients at risk. These are just a handful of examples of the catastrophic consequences of swatting,” said Sen. Christopher “Kip” Bateman, who sponsored the bill.
Under the new law, individuals who falsely report an impending catastrophe, such as a hostage situation or bomb threat, will face five to 10 years in prison and a fine up to $150,000.
The legislation also establishes a new statewide mandate requiring law enforcement to submit an annual report concerning all incidents of false public alarms.