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Two men charged in swatting cases

Last Updated Oct 10, 2019 at 6:29 am MDT

CALGARY (660 NEWS) – Calgary police say it’s a crime that ties of up resources, endangers lives, and wastes tax dollars.

Two men are facing charges in different swatting incidents, allegedly reporting crimes to 911 that never happened.

Swatting is a harassment tactic of deceiving an emergency service into sending a large response to another person’s address.

One of the men is accused of making 86 calls to 911 reporting fake threats.

Between June 4 and July 4, 2019, police received 23 swatting calls in the East Village, where the caller said he was a witness of a crime involving a weapon, or a medical emergency.

Investigators believe the same suspect may be responsible for eight other swatting calls in southwest Calgary between April 24 and May 3, 2019, and 55 additional calls to 9-1-1 since September 2018.

Another false report led to the evacuation of an office building on 3 Ave. SW on Sept. 26. Police received reports a man was carrying a gun, forcing staff in the building to call a lockdown.

Police said around 612 service hours were used responding to swatting calls so far this year. That doesn’t include hours worked by 911 dispatchers. The estimated cost is nearly $83,000.

“Swatting calls are costly. They endanger the public, our officers and divert limited emergency resources from people who really do need help. We have no choice but to respond as though every call we get is real, and even though we are glad these serious incidents turn out to be fake, there is still a very real cost to Calgarians,” says S/Sgt. Jodi Gach, of the District 1 General Investigations Unit.

Zachary James Jakeman, 25, and Shing Lam, 31, have been charged with public mischief and making a false statement.