(WGHP) — False calls designed to trigger huge police responses, AKA “swatting,” have been a problem for some time, but now schools appear to be the target of increasing false threats.
On Monday, 10 schools across Virginia reported threats, many resulting in police response or lockdowns. None of them were determined to be credible.
- Charlottesville Schools posted on their website that police determined a 911 call was a hoax. Another Charlottesville area school received a false threat on Tuesday.
- Culpeper Schools also tweeted about a threat.
- WFXR reported on a lockdown at EC Glass in Lynchburg.
- Arlington County Police Department tweeted about a threat at Washington Liberty High School.
- WAVY reported Suffolk Elementary School also received a false threat.
- Fauquier Now reported about a false threat at Liberty High School.
- The Emporia Independent Messenger reported a false mass shooting report for a Greensville County High School.
- Shenandoah County Sheriff’s Office posted about a threat at Strasburg High School.
- Leesburg Police Department tweeted about a threat at Loudoun County High School.
- The Royal Examiner reported a threat at Skyline Middle School in Warren County.
On Monday Albuquerque Police Department also tweeted about receiving a call about a weapon at a high school, and on Friday they tweeted about a false report of violence at Volcano Vista High School.
“The FBI takes swatting very seriously because it puts innocent people at risk,” the FBI said in a statement. “While we have no information to indicate a specific and credible threat, we will continue to work with our local, state and federal law enforcement partners to gather, share, and act upon threat information as it comes to our attention.”
In North Carolina
On Tuesday, a threat was allegedly communicated to a Lexington Middle School in Lexington, North Carolina, via Instagram. Multiple schools were evacuated in Cabarrus County and Mooresville High School received a threat in the form of an automated message.
On Wednesday, there were reports of threats communicated on Snapchat against Cabarrus County schools that had been threatened Tuesday.
FBI Charlotte released the following statement about the threats on Wednesday: “FBI Charlotte has been in touch with local authorities and other FBI field offices to determine if there is a link to national cases of hoax threats. Obviously, any hoax threat to a school can have serious consequences for students, teachers and others, as well as first responders, and can be prosecuted as a crime.”
On Sept. 15, representatives with Guilford County Schools told WGHP that Welborn Academy of Sciences and Technology and The Kearns Academy were evacuated “briefly” due to a threat. Police inspected the school and found no credible threat. High Point Police Department says that they have not received any credible threats against any schools and that they don’t have any additional information about the threat at Welborn Academy.
In Alamance County, there was a threat involving an alleged weapon at Turrentine Middle School and a bomb threat called into Smith Elementary School. Dr. Dain Butlet, the ABSS Superintendent, released a video in response to these threats on the ABSS YouTube. Burlington Police Department is investigating these threats.
A 23-year-old threatened ‘Zebulon High School’ over Snapchat. Zebulon High School doesn’t exist, but other Wake County schools were on high alert.
Swatting, the act of calling in false reports in order to elicit at large and often dangerous police response, has become increasingly common. Families in the Triad have been swatted multiple times. A Winston-Salem family was swatted in May, and a Guilford County home was swatted twice in July.
Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene was swatted multiple times in August, blaming “radical transgender activists” and her campaign emails claiming that they were “trying to kill her.”