New Minn. law cracks down on 911 ‘swatting’

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Pranksters who dial 911 without a real emergency to report face stiffer penalties under a Minnesota law hitting the books this week.

The law effective Thursday targets those who report a fictitious emergency to 911 dispatchers with the intent of luring authorities somewhere. If the phony call results in a serious injury, it could mean felony charges.

Anyone who makes a 911 call if there’s no emergency could be charged with a misdemeanor or a gross misdemeanor for repeat offenses. It covers phone calls and text messages.

State legislatures and city councils across the nation have started to crack down on the prank phone calls. The pranks are known in some circles as “swatting” calls because police SWAT teams are sometimes dispatched to deal with the situations described by callers.

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