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

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.

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-- Richard Winton, Los Angeles Times

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