Neighborhood Swatting & Staying Safe Online


Joie Warnke, Reporter

It may come as a surprise to many that the term, “swatting” does not only refer to the action of moving your hand quickly to hit something. The term additionally refers to an instance in which a fake phone call is made to 911 dispatch saying that an emergency has occurred, and that a large number of officers (for example the SWAT team) need to respond immediately. This might sound just like a scary hypothetical scenario, but for the Przybyslawski family of South Bend, it was a reality.

On Sunday November 6th, 911 dispatch received a call saying that there was a shooting at the Przybyslawski residence, along with someone who had supposedly attempted to unalive themself. The family was enjoying a nice evening at home, when fourteen county officers and two ambulances responded to the scene. Patrycja Przybyslawski, mother and wife, said that she looked out the window and saw a gun pointing at her head. Unaware of what was going on, the family was immediately evacuated from the home, as they were suspected to be involved in the shooting.

After minutes upon minutes of police searching the house, no evidence was found that pointed to anything remotely close to a shooting or an unalive attempt. Dispatch tried to ping the phone that had called 911, but it was nowhere to be found in the house.

Who was responsible for the swatting phone call? An online video gamer. 

Dominik Przybyslawski, son of Patrycja, stated that he had been playing video games with a friend online, someone whom he had never met in person before. He had been playing with this person for a while, and this unknown individual made it clear to Dominik that he was going to have his house swatted. Dominik told his dad about the threat, but it was never taken seriously. 

It is also significant to consider the fact that those fourteen officers were diverting their attention to a fake scenario, when they could very well be responding to a real and emergency situation somewhere else in the area. 

Being safe while interacting online with other people is extremely important. Do not share your personal information with someone you do not know online. You could leave someone with too much information, and you might not be sure what they are capable of.