OSWEGO, N.Y. – Clown sightings have been on the rise across the country after the first reported incidents occurred in North and South Carolina. The clown epidemic has reached Upstate New York with reports in Syracuse, Auburn and Rochester. Although dressing up as a clown can be creepy and make people feel unsafe, it isn’t a crime.
In a statement released by local authorities, police have advised people not to dress up as clowns and wonder throughout neighborhoods.
“The Oswego Police Department has been made aware of rumors circulating via social media of the potential for people to dress up as clowns (similar to what you may have seen in other areas) in an attempt to scare kids and/or adults in our community. Please note this act could be considered a crime. Oswego Police will be on the lookout and encourage anyone who sees anything suspicious to contact 911 immediately,” said Oswego police.
The Phoenix Police Department is asking people to not dress up as clowns on Halloween, in a Facebook post made on Oct. 4. “if someone hides behind a clown costume with the intent to cause fear, alarm or commit a crime; we won’t be clowning around when they are apprehended,” said the department in the post.
Police in Syracuse are prepping up patrol in the city’s North Side after a 10-year-old boy was chased by three clowns on his way to school last week. In an interview with CNY, Central New York, Central, police said that people could be charged with harassment and loitering which are unlawful.
Clown sightings have started to pop up on college campuses across the country as well. Within the past week clowns have been spotted at Louisiana State University, LSU, Penn State and Oswego State University. There was a sighting in the Seneca Hall parking lot on Oct. 4 but nothing has been released by university police if it was a threat or not.