Crimes in Which Suspects Wear Masks Increase as COVID-19 Protocols Followed


LOS ANGELES (CNS) - The pandemic-related health directive urging people to wear face coverings in public appears to have had a not unexpected consequence -- crimes in which a suspect was wearing a mask have increased nearly fivefold in the first 10 months of this year compared with the same period a year ago, it was reported today.

From Jan. 1-Oct. 31, there were 1,164 criminal incidents in which a suspect was wearing a mask, according to Los Angeles Police Department data analyzed by Crosstown, a nonprofit news organization. During the same time period last year, there were just 200 reports, Crosstown reported.

Last week, Gov. Gavin Newsom tightened mandated protocols, requiring people to wear face coverings when they are outside. Although not everyone has been complying with the order, a good number of crime suspects apparently have been.

The sharp rise in mask-wearing suspects comes as overall crime has fallen by 10%. Robbery and burglary -- two categories commonly associated with mask-wearing suspects -- decreased by 15% and 12%, respectively.

The proliferation of mask usage in criminal reports began in March, when the coronavirus started spreading rapidly across Los Angeles and elected leaders and health officials ordered the shutdown of many businesses. That month there were 56 reports of mask-wearing suspects, more than double the monthly average.

Then the numbers began soaring: There were 168 in April, 188 in May and a high of 205 reports in June.  Figures have diminished since then, but there continues to be more than100 reports of a mask-wearing suspects in the city each month.

According to the LAPD, 27% of incidents involved some type of burglary, while robbery or attempted robbery accounted for 22% of the reports. Nearly 11% involved assault, including with a deadly weapon.

Photo: Getty Images

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