What is this ‘clown epidemic’ all about? A psychologist explains

A photo taken by a North Carolina resident who spotted the clown lurking around.
A photo taken by a North Carolina resident who spotted the clown lurking around.

SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — Parents are on high alert ever since the Bay Area has seen a spike in clown-related incidents and threats.

Creepy clown sighting, encounters and threats have been widespread across the nation in the last month. And now, the “creepy clown epidemic” has hit the Bay Area.

Schools in San Mateo, Fairfield, Oakland and Antioch have all been targets of social media clown threats.

In Concord, a clown tried to snatch a 1-year-old baby girl out of her mother’s hands at a bus stop.

Parents say they’re nervous and their kids are terrified.

“We’re gonna talk about it. I’ll talk about it with our kids and we’ll just kind of say you know there’s some people who are trying to play this prank and they’re trying to be funny but still they’re strangers. So let’s keep our distance,” a parent said.

Police at some schools like Burlingame and Fairfield are stepping patrols at the schools. Police also say there is safety plan in place in case of the clown does show up at a school.

So, what exactly is this clown craze all about?

“It’s mostly about attention,” said psychology professor Guarav Suri.

“The internet also adds sort of steroids to this phenomenon because even if it’s not being covered on tv its covered on someone’s facebook page and that thing goes viral and all of the sudden that is more of a motivation for someone who is seeking attention to want to dress up in a clown outfit,” Suvi said.

Some parents say they’re concerned about how these clown stunts will affect their children.

“It sounds like it all started out fun and games but the fact that some people are doing this to actually commit crimes and that its on social media. And children, if they’re watching this, are very impressionable and I’m concerned about them mimicking it,” a parent said.

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