What is Swatting?
Like the classic tale of “The Boy Who Cried Wolf”, swatting has become the most dangerous game of our time.
“Swatting” is a game of false alarms where someone reports an emergency to law enforcement. The goal? To watch the turmoil unfold. Often, the incident is live-streamed to an online audience. It’s a serious crime and a waste of valuable emergency resources. It has resulted in chaos, emotional trauma for students and staff, property damage, injuries, and even fatalities. And now, swatting is running rampant throughout our school systems.
The consequences of swatting are widespread and devastating. These consequences are harmful both for law enforcement and the innocent victims caught in the middle. Many swatting incidents lead to responses from heavily-armed SWAT teams, helicopters, and other specialized units. Police officers often enter school buildings with their guns drawn. Some even ram their vehicles into locked buildings. In the meantime, innocent students and school staff go into lockdown, barricading themselves inside classrooms and school offices. Until they receive the “all clear” signal, they wait in fear. The event itself is fake, but their trauma is real. And it doesn’t go away when everyone learns the truth about the incident.
With more than 182 schools in 28 states reporting false alarms in the fall of 2022 alone, swatting is on the rise. This alarming trend highlights the need for better ways to differentiate between real emergencies and fake ones. This is where CENTEGIX CrisisAlert can help.
Top 5 Benefits of CrisisAlert In School Districts
#1 Detects The Source
CENTEGIX CrisisAlert empowers schools with the tools needed for efficient crisis response. The technology allows schools to tell the difference between real emergencies and false alarms. The system uses a wearable silent panic alert badge to activate a crisis response. When a staff member initiates an alert using their wearable badge, designated authorities receive immediate notification. Authorities see who activated the alert and the exact location of the emergency.
Armed with this information, they can quickly and accurately locate the source of emergency calls. School administrators and emergency personnel can respond in real time and take appropriate action. This important feature is especially useful in swatting situations. It allows school administrators to determine whether a call is legitimate or a hoax.
#2 Uses Advanced Technology
CrisisAlert uses a variety of technologies to empower staff to take action when they observe suspicious activity, report emergencies, and alert first responders. These include panic buttons, strategically placed strobes, and GPS locating upon activation. The system is customizable, meeting the specific needs of each school district and campus. CENTEGIX understands that every campus is different. By working with administrators to identify strategic locations for sensor placement, CrisisAlert provides maximum coverage for areas inside the building and on the surrounding areas of campus, like sports fields, playgrounds, and parking lots.
Accidental activations are rare. School staff receives specific training to ensure that they know how and when to trigger an alert. CristsAlert badges are unique to each user, so first responders know who calls for help when it is needed. This identification system makes it easier to see when an alert is based on a real threat or a hoax. However, if a call is determined to be a hoax, CrisisAlert can notify law enforcement and give them the information needed to reassess the situation and track down the perpetrator.
The CrisisAlert solution integrates with existing security technology. Schools with video surveillance and live audio feeds of the emergency can use data from CrisisAlert notifications to assist first responders in assessing the situation and help them make informed decisions about how to proceed. This information can be critical in situations where lives are at stake.
#3 Data Analytics
CrisisAlert also provides valuable analytics and reporting tools alongside its emergency notification capabilities. The system generates reports on emergency response times, the number of activations, and other key metrics. School administrators can use this information to identify challenges or areas of need. The data can make a case for increasing the number of sensors in a particular area, improving response protocols, and even staffing concerns.
#4 Complements Existing Infrastructure
CrisisAlert is also designed to complement other security and safety systems. For example, CrisisAlert can integrate with a school’s existing security camera system to provide real-time footage of an emergency. Recent integrations with Ident-A-Kid and RapidSOS mean that schools don’t have to give up systems that they are already using. The CrisisAlert platform will soon include campus maps; these can show locations of existing school safety tools, like AEDs and first-aid kits. CENTEGIX works with schools and districts to look for gaps in communication that occur during a crisis response.
#5 Fosters Peace of Mind
Perhaps most importantly, CrisisAlert provides staff and students with peace of mind. The knowledge that there is a reliable emergency alert system in place can help reduce anxiety and increase confidence in the safety and security of schools. Teachers feel supported because they can get help with day-to-day incidents and major events with the push of a button. Students know what to expect during drills and emergency situations. And district leaders can feel renewed confidence in their partnership with authorities.
Real Emergencies Or False Alarms, Schools Have The Power To Eliminate Both
Swatting in schools is a dangerous trend. It’s putting innocent lives at risk and causing widespread panic and chaos. With the help of CENTEGIX CrisisAlert, schools can tell the difference between real threats and hoaxes. With its unmatched technologies and real-time communication capabilities, CrisisAlert is the ultimate emergency response system for districts. CrisisAlert doesn’t just provide a feeling of peace and security, it ensures it, along with the safety of our children.
Learn more about how CrisisAlert can protect your school and connect with one of our CENTEGIX specialists here.