Officer.com Online Exclusive

Police Officials Address Viral 'Purge' Hoax

A viral image has been circulating around Facebook and Twitter claiming that all crime will be legal in Palm Beach County from midnight to 6 a.m. on Sept. 1.

But local law enforcement agencies want to tell you that it's most definitely not true.

"Crime is never legal," said Boynton Beach police spokeswoman Stephanie Slater. "There's no six-hour window."

The image is the result of the popular 2013 horror movie "The Purge," and its sequel, which came out in July. The movie depicts a futuristic U.S. where a totalitarian government rules, and once a year for 12 hours, people can go on crime sprees without punishment.

The hoax started in Louisville, according to reports, after a high school student posted the image. Since then, it's spread to cities around the country like Chicago and Detroit.

According to reports, police in Louisville have opted not to charge the boy involved in the original hoax.

Officials in Palm Beach County said they were aware of the hoax while it was in the Louisville area, and noticed last week that people were sharing a Palm Beach County purge image.

Boca Raton police spokeswoman Sandra Boonenberg said officers there were alerted by the Federal Fusion Center, a national law enforcement information center, earlier this week.

She said she had received no calls of worry from the public, and said they're going to monitor the situation.

"I don't think this is the first time these things have been out there," she said. "We haven't had anything that specifically indicated Boca Raton [as a target]."

Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Teri Barbera echoed Boonenberg's sentiment -- while officials aren't worried about the hoax in particular, they are monitoring the situation to make sure everyone stays safe.

Slater said while it might seem like a harmless hoax, officials do take threats on social media very seriously.

"We understand that these fliers have made the rounds on social media in other cities throughout the country and fortunately nothing has happened and we hope that's the case here as well," she said. "The safety of our public is our priority."

Copyright 2014 - Sun Sentinel

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

Loading