Crime and Safety

Eric Adams: NYC shoppers should take off their masks to show they’re not scammers

Mayor Eric Adams is urging New York shoppers to remove their masks when entering stores to stop shoplifters.

“Don’t let people enter the store without taking off their face mask, and then once they’re inside they can continue to wear them if they want to,” Adams said in 1010-WINS about facial recognition to help fight repeat offenders in particular.

“When you see these people wearing masks, often it’s not that they are afraid of a pandemic. He is afraid that the police will catch [them] for their deeds,” he said.

Adams’ call for retail exposure comes days after data released by the NYPD showed an unexplained 10 percent drop in retail theft reports this February compared to last year.

Eric Adams: NYC shoppers should take off their masks to show they’re not scammers
Speaking on 1010-WINS radio on Monday, Mayor Eric Adams said businesses are requiring shoppers to remove their masks when entering a store so their faces can be captured by cameras.
Eric Pendzic/Shutterstock

Officials were unable to confirm whether NYPD officers had made more arrests for shoplifting, but the decline came amid an unprecedented spike in shoplifting complaints in recent years.

Adams said his new proposal to eliminate masks at entry would allow officials to use technology to identify shoplifters after the fact and “those who commit serious crimes.”

Shoppers who wish to remain masked for health reasons will be able to put the mask back on by pulling it off when entering the store, the mayor added.

masked robbery suspects
Shoppers who wish to wear masks for health reasons will be allowed to wear face coverings again after entering the store.

Adams said additional police officers will be posted in busy shopping areas so businesses can help with the new mask-wearing policy.

When asked what the NYPD is doing to help businesses required to make sure customers remove their masks upon entry, Adams said additional officers have been ordered to patrol retail areas.

“We are expanding our coverage in these BIDs [Business Improvement District] areas, these high-rise shopping areas, and we are also stepping up our surveillance and practices,” Adams said.

“So we have what’s called a ‘paid service’ where uniformed officers are allowed after hours to provide security at many of our stores and locations, and that’s always been successful,” he said, adding that he recalled the practice used in expensive stores when he was a cop.

masked shopper
Adam’s ban comes days after data released by the New York City Police Department showed a decrease in retail theft in February this year compared to last year.
Getty Images

Last week, NYPD Chief Jeff Maddry shared Adams’s view and urged business owners to force buyers remove their masks to identify as “entry conditions”.

“We need our businesses to be proactive and do their due diligence,” the executive said, adding, “We need to make sure people identify themselves.”

Merchants in the Big Apple are so desperate to stop sticky thieves amid the recent surge in theft that many have taken matters into their own hands.

masked robbery suspect
Officials were unable to confirm whether the 10 percent drop in shoplifting complaints was the result of more arrests.

In the Bronx, a group of vigilant private security guards have been hired to protect the busy Fordham Road business development area from crime, acting as a deterrent against shoplifting.

Business owners are desperate to scare off shoplifters, many of whom are taking matters into their own hands by hiring private security guards and recruiting K-9.
John Nation/Shutterstock

Similarly, the 34th Street Partnership—the mercantile group that serves Macy’s Herald Square, Penn Station, and Madison Square Garden—turned to K-9 units to sniff out crime.

Adam’s big offer for local businesses comes after a gunman in a hazmat suit shot and killed a deli worker on the Upper East Side during a gruesome robbery on Saturday. The shooter is believed to have been involved in three brutal robberies in the past 10 days.

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