A troubling new trend has emerged nationwide. Similar to the bomb scares that have plagued schools for decades, these new hoaxes – known as swatting threats – are even more sinister. These false alerts warn of active shooter scenarios that never occur yet result in large-scale deployment of authorities, including the police and SWAT teams.
Schools in more than 19 different states have reported such incidents since mid-September, and experts believe that these swatting threats are a coordinated effort, possibly farmed out by U.S. perps to cyber criminals overseas.
A recent scare at River Hill High School in Clarksville mobilized the Howard County Police Department. An Oct. 4 phone call received near dismissal time warned of a student with a bomb and a gun. The high school was placed on immediate lockdown and a comprehensive sweep of the school was conducted.
While the response was 100 percent warranted, the call was declared a hoax – a local example of swatting that arrived on the heels of two others in the DMV area.
Swatting is an emerging and deceptive danger that law enforcement is only beginning to decipher and understand. These hoaxes create confusion and fear, and – most egregiously – consume the attention of authorities when others may need their aid. But advances in security technology can help to mitigate the damage and wasted resources they leave in their wake.
Today’s state-of-the-art video surveillance systems, for example, would allow school staff and authorities to review footage remotely or on-site, which could prove invaluable as schools are searched for shooters or signs of a threat.
Artificial Intelligence, too, when seamlessly integrated with a school’s multi-tiered security measures, can integrate with existing surveillance systems and video analytics to detect weapons on-site in real-time.
Active shooter situations are very real, and unspeakably tragic. Swatting threats that prey on the fears that surround them are unconscionable – but they may also be preventable, or at the least, nullified.
School administrators are continuously under pressure to find ways to protect their students, staff, and visitors, making a comprehensive approach to educational security paramount.
Secom has been making strides in this sector for decades.
By coordinating resources and technology, emergency responses can become increasingly more effective, improving response time, preventing loss, and ultimately saving lives.