As the use of cell phones has increased over the years, so too has the number of false 911 calls.
The Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office is asking citizens to be more preventive when using their cell phones to avoid false 911 calls, and to not give live cell phones to children as toys.
Over the last ten years the number of false 911 calls has more than tripled and children playing with de-activated cell phones are making hundreds of those calls; sometimes reporting false emergencies.
If your old cell phone still has a working battery it will still place calls to 911. Because the cell phone has been de-activated the call is almost impossible to trace.
Recently a youth was found to be the source of over 100 false 911 calls, including one where he reported a shooting was taking place at a Lincoln County business prompting an active shooter response from several law enforcement agencies.
Cell phones also have emergency features installed which will call 911 if one button on the key pad is pushed down and held, over half of the false 911 calls can be attributed to “pocket dials”. A new app is also leading to calls as people are saving an SOS button on the phone face which dials 911 as soon as you touch it.
Because nuisance and hang up 911 calls tie up emergency phone lines and distract 911 dispatchers from real emergencies the number of citations being handed out for these calls is also increasing. To avoid these fines, secure and lock your cell phone before you put it in your purse or pocket and never give a cell phone to a child to play with, unless the battery has been removed.
Lincoln County Historic 911 Nuisance/Hang Up Calls:
2002: 584 (1.6 per day)
2012: 1619 (4.4 per day)