SEPTA bans ski masks after recent bus shootings and complaints from customers

SEPTA Transit Police officers will begin asking drivers to remove ski masks that conceal their identities as part of a broader effort to deter crime in the system. The ruling follows two recent bus shootings, including one in which authorities say a suspect was wearing a ski mask.

The policy was confirmed on Friday by SEPTA spokesperson Andrew Buschit is technically nothing new for the traffic police to make this kind of judgment on patrols.

“It is within SEPTA’s discretion to enforce this on their property. What is new, however, is that the SEPTA police are now actively taking action against drivers who wear ski masks and similar coverings, to make it clear to them that they are not allowed to be worn on SEPTA,” said Busch.

Enforcement is carried out through regular police patrols across all SEPTA facilities, with no focus on specific hotspots.

“If the police see someone wearing a ski mask-like covering, they will ask them to take it off,” Busch said. “If they refuse, they will be escorted off the SEPTA compound. No other SEPTA staff will be asked to enforce this, these interventions and possible removals will only be carried out by SEPTA Police.”

People wearing face masks for health reasons, people wearing hoods and people wearing religious coverings such as hijabs are not affected by the policy. TThe use of body-worn cameras by traffic officers will protect against concerns about harassment or racial profiling, as the department regularly reviews footage and reviews complaints filed against police, Busch said.

Violent crimes committed at SEPTA facilities have increased since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, when ridership fell sharply due to social distancing and changing work habits. In March, Busch said the system still only reached about 60% of pre-pandemic ridership.

“We’ve seen people wearing (ski masks) in several other shootings and other violent incidents recently, and it’s also a concern that customers have expressed to us,” Busch said. “This type of obfuscation can make it harder to identify individuals who are committing serious crimes. They may also be more likely to be encouraged to engage in violent crime if they believe their identities are being hidden.”

Mask requirements introduced during the pandemic normalized the wearing of face coverings on SEPTA buses, trains and subways. Many people continue to wear them in crowded spaces to prevent COVID infection. Ski masks and balaclavas, sometimes called “sheisties,” have also become common forms of masking during the pandemic.

On May 17, two men were injured in a shootout on a Route 33 bus in the area of ​​21st Street and Diamond Street. An 18-year-old victim was once shot in the groin. The second victim, also 18, suffered a laceration on his left thigh. SEPTA police said the gunman, who fled the scene, was wearing a ski mask that covered his face. No arrests were made in this shooting.

Then on Wednesday, around 11 p.m., a 15-year-old boy fatally shot on Route 23 bus who was walking near the 5200 block of Germantown Avenue. Philadelphia Police Department released surveillance video from Friday’s shooting, which shows a suspect wearing a black face mask and a hood over his head. A second man, described as an interesting person, was not shown wearing a mask.

SEPTA has taken a number of crime-fighting measures over the past year, including sending more officers to patrol the city’s two subway lines and testing a weapon detection system that uses artificial intelligence to detect weapons. The Transit Police also have a new chief, Charles Lawson, who was promoted this month from the position of acting chief he had held since former chief Thomas Nestel III resigned last July.

The city is offering a $20,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the suspect in Wednesday night’s shooting.

Busch said only SEPTA Transit Police officers would enforce the ski mask rule and no other SEPTA employees have been asked to approach anyone wearing such face coverings.

Hung is an automatic aggregator of the all world’s media. In each content, the hyperlink to the primary source is specified. All trademarks belong to their rightful owners, all materials to their authors. If you are the owner of the content and do not want us to publish your materials, please contact us by email – The content will be deleted within 24 hours.

Related Articles

Back to top button