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LAPD Will No Longer Dignify Celebrity 'Swatting' Pranks With A Press Release

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Image by Gregory Betsey via Shutterstock
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The LAPD says it plans to stop sending out press releases about the tired, dangerous yet increasingly popular prank of "swatting" local celebrities.Recently, Justin Bieber, Tom Cruise and Ashton Kutcher have all been the victim of the pranks that involves someone (such as a bored, disturbed 12-year-old) calling in a fake but scary-sounding threat that requires a SWAT team. On Thursday, the LAPD announced that it plans to stop sending out press releases, and it will no longer immediately confirm reports that a celebrity has been swatted. If the media wants confirmation, they will have to do a public information request or—as we assume will be the case for outlets like TMZ—get confirmation from the swatting victim's team.

The LAPD is worried that the publicity surrounding the played-out prank are only encouraging copycats: LAPD spokesman Officer Christopher Ngo told the Associated Press, "We're going to try to reduce and eliminate their recognition."

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department says that it is considering doing something similar. Steve Whitmore, spokesman for Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca, said the public has "a right to know about law enforcement’s activities" but the department would "seriously consider whatever policies the LAPD comes up with."

Police say they're concerned that someone may get killed accidentally, and it saps resources. Police said the Kutcher prank cost the city $10K, and Beverly Hills Police Department said that when Cruise was swatted, it tied up half of its emergency resources.

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