False 911 calls becoming more frequent, dangerous

Tuesday, September 12th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

Tulsa Police say the practice of exaggerating 911 calls in order to get a faster response is becoming more dangerous, and more prevalent.

The idea behind the practice is to provoke a quicker response from police, fire or ambulance by lying about the seriousness of an emergency. Police say it’s happening too often lately.

Two weeks ago, a woman called police and said four teenagers stole her car with her baby inside. "The information we received originally was her 10 month old child was in the car," said Tulsa Police Captain Mark McCrory.

Officers raced to the scene from all areas of town, fearing for the baby's life. They spotted the car, arrested four teenagers and then realized the baby had never been inside the car at all.

In fact, the woman later told police she'd originally said her daughter was in her car to get a quicker response from police.

"It's a very dangerous thing to do to lie about a call," said Officer Andy Phillips.

Police say it happens all the time. Dispatchers say people just hate waiting for a police officer or ambulance.

"They will say they've got something going on right now or something just happened,” said 911 Shift Supervisor Ken White. “In reality it usually occurred several hours ago or a couple of hours ago."

People will even call 911 and hang up, knowing an officer must come out and check on them, just to file a report of crime that was non violent and happened hours or days ago.

"There's not enough officers to answer all the calls right away,” said White. “I know the public wishes there were, but it's just a fact of life. Sometimes you have to wait."