Police: Cliffside Park hostage situation a hoax
Dozens of law enforcement officials were called to Cliffside Park after a caller said he stabbed his girlfriend and was holding other people hostage Saturday, but the call turned out to be a hoax.
Officials say it comes after a string of "swatting" incidents, where callers pretend there is an emergency to prompt a large police response. Authorities say there have been three other swatting incidents in New Jersey in the past week.
On March 28, police say someone called in a hostage situation at Digital Press Video Store in Clifton that turned out to be a hoax.
They say they also received a fake call about an armed intruder at an elementary school in Holmdel three days after that.
Then again, on April 1, police were called to a home for an alleged hostage situation in Freehold Township.
Authorities say that each time agencies are called out for fake emergencies, resources are depleted if there are actual emergencies.
Swatting is also costly. Officials say the amount of money it costs to send specially trained crews to handle a hostage situation often tops $10,000.
Police say the latest incident in Cliffside Park allegedly involved an emotionally disturbed man, unlike the other cases. The man was taken into police custody.
In swatting cases, the perpetrator is often able to get away with the help of technology that allows them to disguise their voice and hide their identity, according to police.
Those determined to be responsible for swatting hoaxes could face fines and jail time.