Sign in Store Window Divides Harlem Community

| by Amanda Andrade-Rhoades

A new sign in store windows around Harlem is creating a rift between store owners and their neighbors. Three stores now have signs that say “Do not ender with hoodie or mask, if so you are now trespassing.” 

According to Gustavo Solis of DNAInfo, business owners insist they’re just trying to put an end to shoplifting.

“It helps us know who is in the store,” said Jose Abreu, of Bravo Supermarket told DNAInfo. “When people steal we check them on the camera so that next time they come in we know who they are.”

Some residents feel the signs perpetuate racism.

“I’m tired of people of color being viewed as criminals for wearing hoodies,” local resident Andrew Padilla told DNAInfo. “If wearing a hoodies makes you a criminal I should’ve been locked up years ago.” 

Another Harlem resident,Tyquan Haskins, was also unhappy about the notices. “It makes me feel like they are targeting me,” Haskins, who was wearing a gray hooded sweatshirt, told DNAInfo.“Why are you targeting? I’ve been spending money here for five years, don’t you know me?”

(via Andrew Padilla of DNAInfo)

The signs were reportedly created by Philadelphia resident, Joe Stark, who believes the signs are not racially charged. “We’re trying to put robbers and shoplifters on notice,” he said. “When you get a guy walking into a store and he has a hood up, a mask up, it can be a scary thing… [criminals] an be black, white, brown, yellow, blue or green.” He said all those who might complain were “…little thugs selling drugs in the corner.”

Sources: DNAinfo

Images via WikiCommons and DNAinfo