Influx of “Clowning” Incidents Impacting Law Enforcement Resources

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San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department officials said that incidents of a nationwide phenomenon called, “Clowning” is impacting response time by limiting the resources available for other incidents. Sheriff officials said that “clowning” is when  individuals dress as frightening clowns and show up in public places attempting to scare citizens. Some of these scary clown sightings recently have been reported near schools causing an increased concern to parents and school officials.

Although this is not a new phenomenon, and scary clown sightings have occurred for many years now; this year the incidents have escalated to where threats of harming the public and/or students have been made. The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department said that these threats were made over social media and  large majority of these are hoaxes or pranks; lacking credibility.

County law enforcement said that they will be investigating each case of clowning. “Any case of clowning that meets the elements of a crime such as; Criminal Threats, Disturbing the Peace or Inciting a Riot, will be treated as a criminal act and prosecution will be pursued, officials said in the news release. “Two felony arrests have been made by local law enforcement agencies following clowning incidents within the past week.”

The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s department officials said that they will continue to answer and investigate these incidents. “Parents and guardians are asked to question their children about any activity that may indicate participation in clowning,” officials added. “Parents and guardians are also cautioned to inquire with their children regarding social media posts related to clowning.”

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