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New LAPD crime-busting strategy: Hats off before entering stores

October 12, 2011 | 11:06 am

The Los Angeles Police Department launched a new crime-fighting strategy Wednesday in Studio City and North Hollywood that delivers a simple message: Hats off.

Under the program, customers of stores in the two San Fernando Valley communities — which have been hit recently by a string of robberies — will be required to take off their hats and pull their sweatshirt hoods off their heads before entering.

Headgear is often worn by criminals to shield their faces during robberies and break-ins, including a recent rash of jewelery heists in Southern California committed by hoodie-wearing men trying to hide their identities from surveillance cameras, police said.

LAPD officials say that though the city's overall crime rate is down, they are concerned about the string of robberies.

Oxnard implemented a similar policy in 2009. The crime-fighting technique took off in Britain in the last decade, where hoodies became strongly associated with the criminal element.

The anti-crime tool dates at least to King Carlos III of Spain, who banned the wearing of broad-brimmed hats in the 1700s to deter robberies and other crimes.

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— Richard Winton

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