Topeka mayor proposes hoodies and hats ordinance to reduce crime

If you like wearing hoodies and hats and you like to shop in Topeka, you just might be out of luck if Mayor Bill Bunten has his way.

According to the AP:

Mayor Bill Bunten says he’s suggesting that the city allow a retail store to ask people who come in wearing a hooded sweat shirt or ball cap to take it off their head so surveillance camera can see them. Police Chief Ron Miller also recommended a similar measure to discourage robberies.

Topekans say the proposal is both “socialist” and “communist,” and one local business owner said she’d lose customers. Bunten said the problem is kids these days.

"I wouldn't have a quarrel with it,” he told KSNT. “Now, I don't have a hoodie and I don't have a ball cap, but if I did I'd take it off. Most people take their hats off when they go into a store anyway. Well, they used to."

Bunten told the Topeka Capital-Journal he's not proposing an outright ban of hoodies and hats, but wants to give stores the option to require customers to take off the items.

Brisbane, Australia, banned hoodies after a number of crimes jolted the area. Public schools in Allentown, Pa., briefly banned hoodies, and skinny jeans (“too snug for school”). Some folks in Colorado Springs, Colo., believe they’ve been unfairly targeted for wearing hoodies in stories. Stores in the Los Angeles area are requiring people to take off their hats upon entering establishments.

And 16-year-old Dale Carroll, of Manchester in England, was barred from donning a hoodie after he was found guilty of anti-social behavior.

Apparently, he and other local kids (hoods?) caused “mayhem,” which is a tall order for a young teen.

Manchester magistrates heard that Carroll was part of a gang who caused mayhem to residents of Collyhurst village in the city for almost three years.

The court heard he had attacked locals and once attempted to cut down a CCTV lamppost with a chainsaw.

The teenager threw fireworks at cyclists and at one stage pulled a person from their bike and threatened them with an axe. He also drove a car on to a pavement and down steps close to the Sparrow pub in Collyhurst.

Carroll of Cheetham, Manchester, was found guilty of anti social behaviour and was banned from wearing a hoodie or cap in public and from entering a large part of Collyhurst, including the home he shares with his mother in Manordale Walk.

He was also prevented from congregating with more than two people, except family members, and banned from possessing fireworks, axes or chainsaws.

The proposal wasn’t discussed at the Topeka city council’s Tuesday meeting, but Councilman Andrew Gray wore a hoodie to meeting. He said it was comfortable.


lwctown 10 years, 9 months ago

Im sure criminals will follow this new proposed rule...why dont they just outlaw crime wouldnt that be easier?

Jock Navels 10 years, 9 months ago

the biggest criminals in the us of a wear 3 piece suits. outlaw 3 piece suits?

Tristan Moody 10 years, 9 months ago

Oh dear, where to begin.

First of all, it's not socialist, and it's not communist. Anyone using those terms to describe this has no understanding of what they mean.

If anything, call it authoritarian and an unconstitutional restriction of free speech.

Except, here's the thing....

This ordinance does not require people to remove their hoods or hats. It allows businesses to require that of its customers. The government, with very narrow exceptions, cannot restrict dress as such. However, any private enterprise is free to do so. Look at the numerous clubs in the area, for example, that have dress codes. They do so, of course, at the risk of alienating their customer base, and an ordinance permitting them to do so doesn't change that. As such, this ordinance doesn't actually do anything. It's simply a waste of paper and ink, to say nothing of the time spent considering this.

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