Los Angeles police to keep celebrity 'swatting' incidents secret

April 12, 2013 at 5:09 PM

LOS ANGELES, April 12 (UPI) -- The Los Angeles Police Department announced it would no longer issue press releases regarding tactical responses to celebrities' homes, known as swatting.

Police in Los Angeles have received more than a dozen prank telephone calls, emails and text messages suggesting an armed intruder is in the home of a celebrity, usually adding someone has been shot or injured. The term "swatting" comes from the arrival of a police SWAT team in such situations, the Los Angeles Times said Friday.

The announcement Thursday said the procedural change, keeping celebrity swatting calls secret, comes because of concerns regarding victims' privacy as well as the belief that publicizing such incidents emboldens copycats.

News outlets must now make a formal public records act request to the Police Department's discovery unit to obtain any information on whether officers responded to a call at a given address, Cmdr. Andrew Smith of the Los Angeles Police Department Media Relations Section said.

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