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Garden State Plaza Mall in Paramus ,Again the Target of “Swatting”

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the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Paramus NJ, for the third time this summer Garden State Plaza Mall in Paramus was the scene of a “swatting” incident . Swatting is a criminal harassment tactic of deceiving an emergency service (via such means as hoaxing an emergency services dispatcher) into sending a police or emergency service response team to another person’s address. This is triggered by false reporting of a serious law enforcement emergency, such as a bomb threat, murder, hostage situation, or a false report of a mental health emergency, such as reporting that a person is allegedly suicidal or homicidal and may or may not be armed, among other things.

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The term is derived from the law enforcement unit “SWAT” (special weapons and tactics), a specialized type of police unit in the United States. These units are equipped with tactical gear and weapons that differ from patrol units, and are called to situations that are deemed high risk. A threat may result in the evacuations of schools and businesses. Advocates have called for swatting to be described as terrorism due to its use to intimidate and create the risk of injury or death.

Under New Jersey law, it is a Fourth Degree Crime for a person to report or cause to be reported to law enforcement authorities an offense or other incident within their concern knowing that it did not occur; or
pretend to furnish or cause to be furnished such authorities with information relating to an offense or incident when he knows he has no information relating to such offense or incident.

In New Jersey, swatting incidents have been primarily directed toward schools, malls, and hospitals. In one case, the Bergen County sheriff was targeted at his home.

According to the NJ Department of Homeland Security , “Communities throughout New Jersey have been impacted by the recent rise of swatting, with over 200 cases occurring in 2015. Swatting involves a perpetrator making false claims of an emergency, often resulting in emergency responders arriving on site and disrupting normal activity. This response can divert emergency services away from real incidents, and cost the State and municipalities thousands of dollars per incident. In addition to dispatching standard emergency services, responses can also include deployment of law enforcement tactical operations teams, facility lock downs, and thorough investigations. Facilities under threat are often evacuated, leading to significant financial and productivity losses, even if the report is false. Individuals at these facilities can also experience traumatic stress following the threat of violence.”

Authorities gave the “all clear” about an hour after the incident around 8:30 . Paramus Police posted on Facebook : “At this time there is NO active incident at the plaza. A large group moving through the mall. Police are on scene investigating.”

It’s been widely reported that someone claimed that they’d seen a white man in brown shorts holding a handgun shortly before 7:30 p.m.

New Jersey State Police, Bergen County sheriff’s officers aided  Paramus police along with other local police converged on the mall and the intersection of Routes 17 and 4 was temporarily closed during the call.

3 thoughts on “Garden State Plaza Mall in Paramus ,Again the Target of “Swatting”

  1. What is wrong with people?

  2. So lets build a city around this cesspool

  3. So this is a new idea of fun, like prank calls asking if their refrigerator is running, and when they say yes, telling them to run after it before it gets away, or asking a tobacconist if they have Prince Albert in a can, and when they say yes, telling them to let him out?

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