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Seattle police launches new initiative to help prevent swatting

Rave Facility is a new opt-in registry which will alert first responders in the event of a potential swatting

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The Seattle Police Department is attempting to combat Swatting by creating a registry for households concerned that they may be at risk. In a recent blog post, chief of police Carmen Best announced the new system, which will be known as Rave Facility.

The blog post (via PC Gamer) says that the SPD “has received requests to create a registry where residents concerned about swatting can communicate those concerns to their local 911 Center.” A previous system, Smart 911, wasn’t working as intended, so Rave Facility has been set up in its place.

According to Best, when a 911 operator takes a report of a critical incident – i.e. one “involving hostages, gunfire, or other acts of extreme violence” – they’ll still send first responders to the relevant address. They’ll also, however, be checking the opt-in database “for whether or not swatting concerns have been registered at that address.” Responders will attend the incident either way, but “this information will be shared […] to inform and improve their police response to the incident.”

Best is keen to make clear that the changes won’t affect the speed of response, but making sure everyone as much information as possible is available ahead of time is a key concern.

According to the Seattle Police Department, swatting is “the act of creating a hoax 911 call […] with the goal of diverting emergency public safety resources to an unsuspecting person’s residence.” Swatting has previously affected a number of Twitch streamers, who are targeted during their broadcasts.

In December 2017, Andrew Finch was shot and killed in a swatting incident in Kansas. The man who admitted to making the hoax call, Tyler Barriss, pleaded guilty to 51 charges and was sentenced to 20 years in prison.