Spooky clown sightings have been terrorizing residents across America in recent months, but it seems the red-nosed, white-face-painted characters haven’t arrived in Santa Barbara.
“The public should exercise the same degree of caution for creepy clowns as they currently do for zombies and vampires,” said Santa Barbara Police Department Sgt. Riley Harwood.
Harwood said on Friday that SBPD had not received clown-related threats or calls of clowns running amok in the area.
Mere weeks before Halloween, clown hysteria has fueled fear across the country, causing the Santa Barbara Unified School District to issue a district-wide statement Wednesday, spokeswoman Barbara Keyani said.
“As with other schools that have received or seen the same threatening ‘creepy clown’ message, we are actively working with law enforcement to investigate this matter,” Keyani said. “The safety and security of our students and staff must always be our first priority.”
The letter released by the district informed parents the school is aware of the haunting figures loitering with heavy makeup and the social media hoax that is being spread to school districts across the United States and parts of Canada.
While law enforcement does not believe the threat is credible, the school district has taken precautionary measures and additional steps to increase patrolling on campus, Keyani said.
Classes are in session and the district will continue to work collaboratively with law enforcement, Keyani said.
A threat against a school or student is a felony offense and a crime punishable by law, she said.
Reports of luring children into the woods and attacking kids at schools have prompted police locking down campuses and sweeping classrooms in Alabama.
A rash of clown chaos has been reported across Southern California, South Carolina, Texas, Phoenix, Idaho, Tennessee and Florida.
Social media is also crawling with homemade clown videos.
The creepy clown sightings have even caught horror author Stephen King’s attention.
“Hey, guys, time to cool the clown hysteria,” King tweeted on Monday, “most of em are good, cheer up the kiddies, make people laugh.”