Swatting is when someone discovers a person’s address and makes a malicious prank call to the emergency services, reporting a serious crime. This leads to a real swat team being dispatched to the person’s house. It is mainly prevalent in the video gaming community.
Stream swatting is when someone discovers a streamers address and reports them in the hopes of viewing the event live while they are streaming. Streamers who have been stream swatted include DrDisrespect, Shroud and DrLupo. It isn’t exclusice to the US, as people have been swatted in the UK and Russia.
What’s Wrong with Stream Swatting?
There are many problems related to stream swatting. Minimally, the emergency service’s personnel’s’ time is wasted on this hoax, which could possibly be required elsewhere. This endangers the lives of real victims. It also causes a great deal of stress and embarrassment for everyone involved, as the streamer’s neighbors may become suspicious or hostile to the streamer, while the police will be flustered at having nearly harmed an innocent person.
However, the biggest problem is that it genuinely puts the streamer’s life at risk. Swat teams are only dispatched to locations when there is suspicion of a life-threatening illegal activity such as a hostage situation, bomb threat or murder. The SWAT team members are therefore hyper-sensitive to even the slightest mistake on the suspect’s part.
Has Swatting Harmed Anyone?
In 2015, gamer Tyran Dobbs was swatted by two other gamers, one located in the US and the other in the UK. He was shot in the face and chest by rubber bullets. This broke his face and he is continuing to undergo corrective surgeries to fix the damage. Both men were federally charged for the crime.
In December 2017, two gamers in Wichita got into an argument over a Call of Duty match that led to an uninvolved third party being swatted and killed by a police officer. The three men involved of facing charges that could result in life imprisonment for the hoax caller and sixty-years imprisonment for the two inciters.
Minimally, being swatted can be extremely traumatizing for those involved, which can include the families, children and roommates involved, as was the case when Koopatroopa787’s ten-year-old brother had a group of policemen pointing guns at him when he walked in on his family being held at gunpoint in their living room in 2015. Koopatrooper787 moved out of his family’s home a few months later out of concern for their safety.
Why Do People Stream Swat?
In the Wichita incident, it was an immature escalation in an argument where the two teenagers got into an argument over a $1.50 USD bet. In other instances, it can be an angry fan lashing out at a streamer or even just some child who thinks that it would be funny to see their favorite streamer ‘pranked’ live on air, without giving thought to how terrifying it is for the streamer, the time that they are wasting or that they are actually putting the streamer’s life at risk.