What started as two people dressed as clowns trying to lure children into the woods of South Carolina has turned into a national phenomenon. Nationwide, people are choosing to imitate these clowns and taunt children and adults alike.
Panic on social media has created a lot of fear of clowns in Utah. Rumors of school lockdowns, violence and clown sightings are circulating on Facebook and Twitter. Most of these incidents are false and area police have shared messages on social media to dispel the rumors, but police have confirmed a handful of clown-sighting reports across the state.
Three clowns were reportedly sighted on Utah State University’s campus in different locations this week, according to campus police. In all of the incidents, no harm was done and no arrests were made. But police chief Steven Milne assures that the department takes these threats seriously.
“If they do start to intrude, they could possibly start to see charges for disorderly conduct," Milne said. "We just ask those people to think twice before that type of behavior because of the concern it is causing people across the country.”
In some areas of Utah, people have posed as clowns online and threatened others. One such incident occurred in Logan City where an individual was taunting other students online. The threat was traced back to a middle school student. The student was referred to juvenile court with two counts of Electronic Communications Harassment. That’s according to Logan city’s Facebook page.
Especially with Halloween coming up, police are warning the community to be careful when choosing a costume and not to act irrationally when others choose to dress as clowns.
“We just ask people to use good judgment as far as with what’s going on across the country," Milne said. "It does tie up resources when law enforcement’s having to respond to this type of calls even though a majority of them don’t involve any type of criminal violation. So we just ask people to use their best judgment as far as how they want to dress for the holiday season.”