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Neighborhood on Edge After ‘Swatting’ Prank

SACRAMENTO -- Sunday, Sacramento police officers responded to a house on 17th Avenue near San Carlos Way. A caller with a British accent reported he had multiple people held hostage inside. He said he wanted $20,000 or he would shoot someone.

The call may not have sounded serious, but the claim the caller made was -- deadly serious. So Sacramento police say they had to respond.

"In these types of situations, we have no choice other than to respond in the manner that we did. And that is with lights and sirens, rifles deployed," said Sgt. Orlando Morales with the Sacramento Police Department.

"They had their street on lock down. And right now we found out it's a false call," said neighbor Tom Prinkleton.

It's called "swatting" -- creating a fake emergency that has police descending on a home, with the potential of confusing the innocent residents inside for dangerous criminals.

But that's not the only thing dangerous about it.

"What this is doing is draining resources that can be reallocated to different parts of the city," Morales said.

"I'm sure they're going to be traumatized for the next couple of weeks and months," he said.

And while the crime reported may have been a fake, the false report itself was crime --  a serious one Sacramento police detectives are now working to solve.

"They're going to do whatever follow up can be done. And that can be if there's an associated phone number," Morales said.