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Police: Face masks can make recognizing suspicious behavior, identifying suspects more difficult

Published: Aug. 12, 2020 at 9:24 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Whether hiding behind a ski mask or a hood, criminals covering their faces while committing a crime is an attempt to conceal their identities.

“Based on history, when people commit criminal acts, a lot of time they cover their face,” Sgt. Donnell Gordon with Lexington Police said.

It's something that used to be a red flag for businesses.

“If you saw somebody going in with a mask on, that’s something that would be an indicator to somebody that hey that’s not right,” Gordon said.

But, now that covering your face is part of the new normal, criminals may be hiding in plain sight.

“It’s not as suspicious as it used to be,” Gordon said. “Now it’s a little bit harder for the average citizen to see that something else is going on.”

A Clay County gas station’s solution to this is having customers pull down their face masks for a moment when they enter the store so employees can see their full faces.

It’s a policy put in place after they were the victims of an armed robbery, the suspect caught on camera was wearing a face mask just like the ones we now see every day.

The extra layer of security for people’s health is also an added challenge for businesses and police departments.

“Masks do create a different kind of hindrance to us,” Capt. Dustin Bowman with Frankfort Police said. “Not getting the full feature of people’s faces can always at least slow down the process of identifying a suspect.”

Police do still encourage everyone to follow the mask mandate.

They advise business owners to be more alert, and they ask for more public participation when they need help identifying suspects.

Copyright 2020 WKYT. All rights reserved.

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