YouTube pranks show 'stabbings, shootings, crimes'
A man appears to be stabbed in this prank YouTube video. Courtesy: YouTube.
A man appears to be choking in this prank YouTube video. Courtesy: YouTube.
A man appears to be shot in this prank YouTube video. Courtesy: YouTube.
PHOENIX (CBS5) -
Type in the word 'prank' and you'll find hundreds, if not thousands of videos on YouTube. Many of these pranks are played on friends, but a growing number are staging what appears to be very dangerous crimes.
"Obviously what is concerning is some of the resources that could potentially be wasted from people that are pulling these pranks," said Phoenix Police Sergeant Steve Martos.
Martos watched the most recent viral prank, which shows a man who appears to be seriously wounded from a knife attack. The video was shot in California, but Martos says Phoenix Police still have many false calls here in the valley.
"Unfortunately, we do get (pranks) from time-to-time. Whether it be individuals that are calling in a prank that somebody has been shot, or perhaps (someone calls) about an incident at a large venue like a shopping mall," he said.
There is also the now infamous YouTube video of a man dressed in traditional middle eastern clothing and carrying a fake grenade launcher in the Phoenix area. The filmmaker who shot it says it was part of a documentary, but many considered it a prank, and a dangerous one at that.
"Our resources can be used in a better way, rather than responding to these types of incidents," said Martos.
Because today's social media sites and apps are so accessible, experts say these pranks that blur reality will become more and more common.
"It's only going to grow. I think it's because it's so easy," said Robin Phillips, the Digital Director of the National Center for Business Journalism at ASU.
"Because we've got the ability to video anything easily, (we can) put up a prank and hope the world looks at it too," she continued.
However, Phoenix Police say they're often one of the viewers as well.
"We go after these individuals," said Martos, referring to people who prank call police.
Phoenix Police recommend calling the police if you think you're seeing a crime being committed, even it if turns out to be a prank.
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