The New York Police Police Department is advising businesses to ask patrons to take off their masks before entry in light of the high number of thefts and robberies across the city.
Removing face masks should be made a “condition of entry,” NYPD Chief of Department Jeffrey Maddrey said at a press conference last week, noting that criminals have been taking advantage of masks to avoid detection on surveillance cameras.
“People are coming up to our businesses, sometimes with masks, sometimes masks, hoods and latex gloves, and they’re being buzzed in, they’re being allowed to enter into the store and then we have a robbery or some kind of property being stolen,” Maddrey said.
“We are asking the businesses to make this a condition of entry: That people, when they come in, they show their face, they should identify themselves,” he continued. “And if they feel like they want to put their mask on after they identify themselves for their safety, by all means, they should do so.”
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, most businesses in the city would block customers from entering the premises with masks on, according to the police chief. But taking in masked customers is now “a way of life.”
“Since the pandemic, this is a way of life for us, where people wear masks regularly,” he said. “But we’re seeing this being used too much as a ruse to enter into businesses and to victimize our businesses.”
“We need our businesses to be proactive and do their due diligence. We need to make sure people are identifying themselves,” Maddrey said.