Tougher penalties for 'swatting' passed by Assembly

New Jersey's lawmakers are taking action against the recent influx of "swatting" hoax emergency calls that have been plaguing the state.

"Swatting" is when a person makes a fake emergency call with the end goal of bringing a large police response to an area. Such calls are typically bomb or hostage threats that turn out to be fake.

The New Jersey state Assembly passed a bill Thursday to make those who are caught making the hoax calls pay a stiffer fine or face jail time. Those convicted could face up to 10 years in prison, up to $150,000 in fines, or both.

In Monmouth County, a $5,000 reward is being offered for information leading to the arrest of the person who has called in several hoaxes over the last few weeks.

"Hopefully, in the not too distant future, this will come to an end before someone seriously gets injured or someone gets killed for the wrong reason," says Kevin Burke, chairman of Monmouth County Crime Stoppers.

The bill passed in the Assembly will now go to the state Senate for approval.

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