Grand Rapids Police Warn of Recent Swatting Incidents
Two Grand Rapids businesses were recently the victims of swatting.
What is Swatting?
Swatting is when a person calls 911 to falsely report a serious crime occurring at a specific address.
This ties up police and other emergency responders, creates confusion and concern in and around the reported location, leads to rumors and misinformation being spread online and in the community, and generally causes chaos.
Swatting Incidents in Grand Rapids, Mich.
GRPD says a Grand Rapids restaurant and hotel were the recent victims of swatting.
The downtown Holiday Inn was one of them.
According to WZZM-13, the other incident occurred at Happy Cat Cafe. Police received a call there was an active shooter on the scene - this was a false report.
At this time it is unknown if the calls are connected, however these types of incidents can influence copy-cat type activity.
GRPD says residents and businesses should be aware there may be additional swatting calls made by the same, or new, individuals.
How to Handle Swatting
GRPD advises that for everyone's safety, these calls should be taken seriously until proven to be false.
They say the staff at the downtown Holiday Inn did a very good job of communicating factual information to first responders and to their guests in a timely manner to calm fears and return to business as usual shortly after the call was proven to be false.
GRPD recommends businesses use this as an opportunity to review (or prepare) their emergency response plans, including how to respond if a false report is made.
If anyone in the community hear about a critical incident happening, the best thing to do is check reliable sources, like local news outlets, and, depending on the situation, the City’s emergency alert system. (You can sign up for the Grand Rapids emergency alert system here.) Citizens are asked to not spread unsubstantiated rumors, especially those that could cause panic and/or lead to unsafe behavior.
Anyone with information on these recent swatting calls is asked to contact the Grand Rapids Police Department or Silent Observer. Detectives can be reached at (616) 456-3380 or tips can be sent anonymously through Silent Observer at (616) 774-2345.
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