LOS ANGELES (CBS) — The next time you visit a store in the San Fernando Valley, you may have to check your hat at the door or take your business elsewhere.
KNX 1070′s Vytas Safronikas reports it’s part of a new anti-crime effort announced by the Los Angeles Police Department Wednesday to deter criminals from targeting businesses in Studio City and North Hollywood.
The “Hats Off!” pilot program will post signs at nearly two dozen local businesses requesting that patrons remove their hats and helmets and pull sweatshirt “hoodies” from their heads before entering.
Under the program, a “warning notice” will be placed in the window of a business that caters to walk-in customers “to allow the customer time to remove their hat, hoodie or helmet” before entering, LAPD officials said.
If they refuse to comply, “they’d be in violation of penal code 602, which is essentially trespassing within that business,” said LAPD Capt. Justin Eisenberg.
The effort is aimed at suspects who hide their faces during crimes, Eisenberg said.
Headgear is often worn by criminals to shield their faces from security cameras during a break-in or robbery.
“If you think about schools where there are dress codes, or nightclubs or many establishments that have restraints as to what people can wear in their establishments, that’s a right that store owners have,” said Eisenberg. “This is just an additional tool that we’re giving store owners.”
Studio City and other neighboring communities have been hit by a string of robberies in recent months, including a $2 million diamond heist in North Hollywood.
If successful, the voluntary “Hats Off!” effort could soon be expanded citywide.
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