New York City – The New York City Police Police Department is advising businesses to have patrons take off their masks before entry due to 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.”
New York had some of the strictest policies on the wearing of masks during the COVID-19 pandemic, requiring customers to mask up or not be able to shop.
A Shoplifting Epidemic
The Epoch Times reports that the advice comes as New York City Mayor Eric Adams admitted that a shoplifting epidemic is forcing chain stores to close down and costing retail workers their jobs.
“We’re losing chain stores that are closing down. People who are being employed in those stores are losing their jobs,” the mayor told the state Legislature. “They’re adding to our unemployment.”
The surge in shoplifting has prompted some business owners to take actions on their own.
According to an analysis of NYPD data by The New York Post, there were 63,699 reports of shoplifting along with retail related larcenies and robberies in 2021, and 43,675 incidents in 2022.