Face mask use creates challenge for law enforcement trying to identify criminals

Local News
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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — The COVID-19 pandemic has millions going outside wearing face masks and that’s creating challenges for law enforcement officers as some criminals are also using masks to hide their identity.

A surveillance video shows the moments an Arden Manor home was broken into. The man behind the break-in wore an N95 mask and covered the home’s camera.

The homeowner said she hopes the man’s mask does not stop someone from recognizing him and turning him in.

Police say with so many people wearing masks during this pandemic, it does create challenges.

“By the mere fact that somebody is wearing a mask, I think we all realize now that more often than not what we’re going to see when we’re in public doing our essential activities,” said Sacramento County Sheriff’s spokeswoman Sgt. Tess Deterding.

However, Sgt. Deterding said burglaries and robberies have actually dropped in her jurisdiction.

“That’s the type of crime where you would see a suspect that’s wearing a mask to conceal their face,” she explained.

In fact, calls for every type of crime have dropped.

“Burglaries, violent crime, domestic violence, everything across the board was down,” Deterding told FOX40.

Last week, Deterding said some crime numbers started to go up but everything is still lower than it was before the pandemic.

That is surprising considering how many commercial businesses are now deserted.

But she said just because everyone is wearing a mask, it does not mean you should let your guard down.

“The area that they’re in, the time of day or night, if they’re sneaking around the backside of a building,” Sgt. Deterding said. “One of the factors might be, hey, all of these other things are also suspicious and this person is also concealing their identity using a mask.”

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