Threats of clown violence reach northern Colorado

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GREELEY, Colo. -- At one time, they made us laugh.  But somewhere along the line, clowns became scary.

And lately, clowns have become the vehicle for threats of violence nationwide.

In Greeley, a social media post from "a clown" threatened shootings at Northridge High School and Franklin Middle School.

The threats were not taken lightly by the Greeley-Evans School District 6. The Greeley Police Department was immediately notified and security measures were stepped up while an investigation began.

Police determined it this threat was a hoax, a reposting on Facebook by a 15-year-old boy.

But the antagonist of these threats, a clown, has become a popular face to deliver the message of violence.

Denver clinical psychologist Dr. Susan Heitler said hiding behind a mask, like a clown's, gives the feeling of power and control. And with all the media coverage, an idea for others.

With today's social media capabilities, it's just that much easier to spread the fear.