Some shops in Harlem are sending out notice that they aren’t appreciative of customers wearing hoodies or masks, DNAinfo New York reports.
Three businesses along Frederick Douglass Boulevard are warning clients to “not enter with hoodie or mask. If so you are now trespassing,” the report notes.
The new signs are creating a buzz in the neighborhood, where some of the residents find them offensive and a form of racial profiling.
“I’m tired of people of color being viewed as criminals for wearing hoodies,” Andrew Padilla told DNAinfo New York. “If wearing a hoodie makes you a criminal, I should’ve been locked up years ago.”
“It makes me feel like they are targeting me,” resident Tyquan Haskins said. “Why are you targeting? I’ve been spending money here for five years; don’t you know me?”
However, the creator of the signs told the news site that the signs weren’t racially offensive because criminals “can be black, white, brown, yellow, blue or green.”
"We’re trying to put robbers and shoplifters on notice,” Joe Stark, who is in the midst of launching his own security company, told DNAinfo New York. “When you get a guy walking into a store and he has a hood up, a mask up, it can be a scary thing.”
“The only complaint you might have is from the little thugs selling drugs in the corner,” he added.
Stark has been selling the signs for $10, according to the report.
Read more at DNAinfo New York.