People Need to Stop Reporting Creepy Clowns to Police

Clowns are creepy—at least, that's how most people feel about them. And people seem to be using clowns' creep factor as a way to scare the shit out of their neighbors all over the country. According to The New York Times, there has been an epidemic of alleged creepy clown sightings in several states, and 12 people have been arrested. After a report in South Carolina of people dressed as clowns trying to lure kids into the woods with money, a rash of clown crimes spread up the coast from Alabama to Maryland. USA Today has summarized alleged clown activity in 13 different states.

Most recently, there have been sighting of clowns in the Ohio area, as people are reporting them breaking into cars and homes, according to 10TV. Police haven't actually found anyone in costume. Police in Marion, Ohio say they've responded to at least 20 clown sightings in the past week, and they ask that "persons not dress in clown costumes with the intent of creating fear or hysteria." Oy vey.

Pretty much all of these alleged clown sightings have been hoaxes, but people are still being arrested for things like obstruction of justice and making terroristic threats (even if they never intended to follow through on, say, attacking a school in a clown costume). So while it may seem fun to be part of the creepy clown craze—one professor told the Times that people might be making false reports out of some kind of sick FOMO—know that there can be serious consequences if you get caught making things up.

There has been one very real death linked to the mostly-imagined clown epidemic. PennLive reports that a 16-year-old in Pennsylvania was fatally stabbed last Sunday after someone wearing a clown mask provoked a fight.

So, don't call the police unless you actually see a clown committing a crime. Okay? Okay.