For those with coulrophobia — the fear of clowns — it’s a scary time to be alive.
A craze where people dress up as creepy clowns and roam the streets has swept the US and has now made its way to Australia.
What perhaps started as practical joke in the lead up to Halloween at the end of the month is now becoming a serious problem for police as pranksters are taking advantage of the hysteria.
In the US, the creepy clowns have been seen in more than 20 states and almost 30 people have been arrested in clown-related crimes.
US police are arresting the perpetrators on charges of harassment and making “terroristic threats.”
Meanwhile, in Australia sightings are on the uptick.
Over the weekend a 19-year-old man dressed as a clown allegedly chased a group of girls in Northam, northeast of Perth, and chased them for about 700 metres to a police station.
In a separate incident, a woman reported hitting a pedestrian dressed as a clown near Champion Lakes in Perth about 12.30 am on Sunday. However, the person ran into nearby bushland and could not be found.
On Saturday, a Brisbane woman almost drove over a clown after it approached her car holding a knife in Redland Bay.
Victoria Police received three separate reports of “creepy clown” incidents in suburban Melbourne on Friday.
Numerous people on social media are also reporting clown sightings.
A Clown Sightings Australia Facebook page has almost 20,000 likes.
Here’s a look at some of the sightings so far on the page.
While the NSW police haven’t yet received clown reports, a spokesperson told Business Insider it’s not an offence for people to dress up. However, assault is a police matter.
The Victorian Police told the ABC they have taken a zero-tolerance stance on the situation.
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