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Prank 911 calls pose hidden dangers

Another example of 911 misuse is prank calls. People sometimes call 911 to falsely claim an emergency or to deliberately hang up. These calls generally come from private homes or pay phones. (Yes, they still exist.)

A subcategory of prank calls is diversionary calls. A caller dials 911 to send the police to a location where no emergency has occurred, diverting them away from the caller’s criminal activity. The difference between “playing on the phone” calls and diversionary calls lies in the motives behind them.

Those who “play on the phone” but do not immediately hang up typically want to see the police respond, so they are unlikely to send the police to an area not visible to them. Diversionary callers want the opposite result.

The next is exaggerated emergency calls. Sometimes 911 callers intentionally exaggerate the seriousness of an emergency to get a quicker police response. For example, a caller may falsely report “shots fired” when calling about a dispute or assault. Yet other callers, over a series of months or years, repeatedly report an emergency, yet the police never find any evidence of one. The calls are not pranks, and they do not neatly fit into the exaggerated emergency category. They are typically made by the elderly or mentally ill, who live alone.

Some callers suffer from delusions, actually believing an emergency is occurring; others are often simply seeking company, perhaps not realizing the public expense of their calls and the accident-injury risks involved for officers responding to high-priority dispatch calls. The fact that these callers commonly claim an intruder is in their yard or house perhaps suggests a rational manipulation of 911 and of police services. Please help us keep 911 clear for real emergencies.

Oct. 10. Burglary: The caller states he had numerous items taken sometime last night at 7:44 a.m. in the 800 block of Reese Place.

Trespass: The residents are out of town but ask the neighbors to trespass a family member, from their mutual building, on their behalf at 9:31 p.m. in the 1600 block of New Mexico Street.

Thought for the day: It sounds like the Christmas card list is getting shorter for some families this year.

Oct. 11. DUI: The caller states an employee confronted a man for public urination, and the subject began chasing him, jumped in a vehicle and sped away heading into town at 10:04 a.m. in the 1600 block of Boulder City Parkway.

Reckless: The vehicle is speeding, passing vehicles in the breakdown lane and failing to yield to officers at 5:32 p.m. in the area of Railroad Pass.

Thought for the day: The reckless driver decides to ditch the vehicle and use the companion’s ride for the getaway, allowing officers to tow the speed-ride to prevent future incidents.

Oct. 12. Suspicious: The unconscious subject sleeping on the deck is transported to the hospital due to the level of intoxication at 3:17 p.m. in the 600 block of Avenue M.

Noise: The designated driver is diligent in dropping off the passenger daily but feels the need to demonstrate the power of his four-wheeled chariot at 8:05 p.m. in the 1500 block of Tilman Lane.

Thought for the day: The neighbors aren’t sure if “she” is impressed, but they sure aren’t.

Oct. 13. Suspicious vehicle: The man and woman are sleeping in the vehicle and in an area needed for construction crews at 4:40 a.m. in the 1600 block of Boulder City Parkway.

Suspicious: The caller reports a subject sitting with food spread on the ground and clipping their toenails at 2:51 p.m. in the 1000 block of Nevada Way.

Thought for the day: There’s nothing like the rumble of an oversized dozer, 2 inches from your vehicle, to wake up even the weariest of travelers.

Oct. 14. Recovered stolen vehicle: The officer is not fooled by the subject pretending to be a trash removal crew and recovers a stolen vehicle and stolen plates from an additional vehicle. The miscreant may, in fact, get to perform some community service when all is said and done at 3:34 a.m. in the area of Keys and Woodacre drives.

Grand theft: The sticky-fingered subject tries to leave a “replacement”and cuts the lock off the expensive bike at 2:23 p.m. in the 1100 block of Fifth St.

Thought for the day: The ole’ switcheroo doesn’t work, and the felony charges will be an exceptional surprise.

Oct. 15. Accident: The youngster tests out the capacity of the bike helmet when running full speed into the side of a moving vehicle at 1:54 p.m. in the area of 1500 Carroll Lane.

Assist other department: Officers are called to assist when the fire department deals with a complicated rescue of a golf cart mishap at 3:14 p.m. in the area of 1 Cascata Drive.

Thought for the day: Both calls had positive results because of the quick and concise actions of the first responders.

Oct. 16. Family disturbance: It’s all over except the yelling, it appears, at 3:33 a.m. in the 800 block of Cottonwood Cove Drive.

Suspicious person: A subject, dressed in all black clothing, has been lingering around the property and acting suspicious at 10:10 p.m. in the 1000 block of Nevada Way.

Thought for the day: I’m not sure anyone could be in a decent mood at 3 a.m., so they might consider a daylight discussion.

Call of the week: The breakup was contentious, at best, but taking the chicken coop is the last straw. After much yelling and gnashing of teeth, the coop (and a handgun) were returned to the aggrieved party and everyone appears content (even the chickens) at 5:52 p.m. Oct. 12 in the 300 block of La Plata Place.

Tina Ransom is a dispatcher with the Boulder City Police Department. She is coordinator of the Boulder City Citizen’s Academy.

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