Swatting is a form of harassment in which attackers try to trick police forces into sending a heavily armed strike force — often a SWAT team, which gives the technique its name — to a victim's home or business. The Los Angeles Police Department, in a press release about a specific swatting attack that occurred in August of 2020, provided this definition of swatting: "The term 'swatting' refers to someone who places a false emergency call for service, generally of a nature which causes a large police response."
The LAPD goes on to add that "the 'swatting' practice is dangerous and places the community and first responders in harm's way." For some attackers, this is the thrill and the purpose of swatting: to cause the victims to fear for their lives as armed police charge into their homes, often with little warning. The police often believe that they themselves are facing an armed and dangerous adversary, producing a volatile scenario that can result in property destruction, injury, and death.