MOBILE, Ala. – The Mobile Police Department wants to ban the sale of a specific kind of hooded sweatshirt that zips over the face and has been used in several recent robberies.
One officer says normally good kids are committing crimes because the hoodies give them a feeling of invulnerability.
At a news conference, two cadets modeled the hoodies the police are going after. One was adorned with logos of the rap duo the Insane Clown Posse, and the other was designed to look like an Egyptian sarcophagus.
Unlike ordinary hooded sweatshirts, which zip up to the neck, these garments zipped all the way to the top of the head. Designs were printed on the fabric covering the face, and the shirts had eyeholes cut into them.
“I’m almost to the point of outrage concerning the hoodies,” police Chief Phillip Garrett said. “I don’t think these should be sold. The only reason you would buy one is to disguise your identity.”
The Police Department is looking into writing an ordinance outlawing the sale of the clothing, Garrett said.
The chief also asked that parents go through their teens’ closets and cars to see if they own any hoodies. Even if they are not committing a crime, kids wearing the garments could put themselves at risk of being mistaken for criminals by police, he said.
“I don’t want anybody to get hurt, the child or the police officer,” Garrett said. “But that’s going to happen at some point if this doesn’t slow down.”
Deputy Chief Jim Barber said the hoodies are not just offering camouflage to hardened criminals. The hoodies kids feel invulnerable, he said.
“This is what’s motivating people who otherwise would not commit crimes to commit some very serious crimes, armed robbery in particular,” Barber said.
But while the hoodies have been worn in a number of recent crimes, Barber said, robbers wearing hoodies are not part of an organized gang.
“There is no hoodie gang,” he said. “There is a hoodie garment that seems to be motivating people to do a lot of things they otherwise wouldn’t.”