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10 Dumb Reasons to Call 911

By Betty Wang, JD | Last updated on

As 911 dispatchers will tell you, there are plenty of dumb 911 calls out there. It seems many callers often don't quite understand what constitutes an "emergency."

Calling 911 is no joke, though. For example, "swatting" (i.e., getting the SWAT team called to someone's house on a bogus crime report) is dangerous and can get you arrested. Same goes with making too many 911 calls or otherwise abusing the system.

However, that didn't stop some of these people, who made our list of the 10 dumbest reasons to call 911...

  1. Jell-O theft. Lunch theft, or theft in general is no joke and can lead to serious criminal consequences. But perhaps this panicky Pennsylvania man should have resorted to asking around or attempting to resolve the issue of his missing gelatinous snack cup himself, before calling 911.
  2. Stolen chicken. Burglary is a serious crime. Even if it's just chicken, though? Apparently, yes, as a Virginia woman with an empty crock pot will tell you.
  3. Crying wolf. Nobody appreciates it when someone cries wolf, especially not the police whose resources are best spent fighting actual crimes. Unfortunately, that didn't stop one Colorado woman who made four dozen prank calls to 911.
  4. Looking to fight. One man apparently couldn't locate his neighborhood boxing ring, and instead decided to call 911 asking to fight a police officer. When cops showed up, they found out he wasn't kidding.
  5. Not enough shrimp. Some folks take their shrimp fried rice way too seriously, as one Texan woman who called 911 over the shrimp-to-rice ratio in her meal might show us.
  6. Beer being taken away. Some of us really take our love for the bottle a little too seriously. Take this Florida man who called 911 because his mom took his beer away. Did we mention this man was 32 years old?
  7. Being single. Being lonely may suck, but it's rarely an emergency that prompts a 911 call. That didn't stop one Ohio woman from drunkenly calling 911 to ask for help finding a date. Guess who showed up at her front door...
  8. A hug and hot chocolate. The holidays are almost upon us, so who doesn't want a little bit of warmth? Oh wait, except this homeless man made this request to the police, in the summertime, after having soaked in someone else's hot tub. At least being convicted of trespassing charges kept him warm ... for 30 days in a jail cell.
  9. Fight over a fart. A fight between a girlfriend and her boyfriend over his farts apparently sounded like domestic violence to this neighbor who decided to call 911. Passing gas can be pretty offensive sometimes.
  10. Getting locked in the house that you're burglarizing. Normally, it's the victim of burglary who calls 911 in a panic. Not this time -- one intoxicated burglar had to resort to calling the police after he got stuck in the house he was plundering. (The owner had installed locks that required keys, even from the inside.) Nothing like a feel-good crime-fighting story, eh?

It should go without saying, of course, that if you fear for your safety or the safety of others, you should never hesitate to make a 911 call. For all other emergencies, though? Well, see above.

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