Rumors about a real-life Purge across the state of Texas this weekend have prompted residents to be on alert.
The Purge refers to a period of time featured in two fictionalized movies during which pretty much any crime is legalized.
The only rules are that no high government official can be murdered and that no heavy weapons such as rocket launchers are allowed.
The rumors started earlier this month, targeting multiple cities across the United States including Louisville and Miami.
But a student at duPont Manual High School in Louisville later told the school newspaper that he had started the rumors, though it’s unclear if rumors about other cities were inspired by his post on Twitter or developed independently.
The threats about the state of Texas seem to include many cities, including Houston, Lafayette, and The Woodlands.
Harris County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Christina Garza told the Houston Chronicle that police are taking the threats seriously.
“Movie or no movie, the HCSO enforces the law 24/7. Our deputies will make sure that those who choose not to do so are prosecuted to the extent the law allows,” she said, noting that crime analysts are monitoring the situation as a precaution.
Woodlands residents noticed the posts on social media websites, with some dismissing the threats and others scared about them.
“It’s gotta be a marketing ploy,” Woodlands resident John Leighton told KHOU. “I mean that’s really all it is, just to create hype around it.”
“That frightens me and if it frightens me, I’m sure it would terrify other people as well so there should be some kind of recourse behind that, yes of course,” said Melinda Myres.
Out of all the threats to cities across the nation so far, none have appeared to result in any serious violence or crime.