Mask-wearing mandates creating a challenge for detectives

Mask-wearing mandates creating a challenge for detectives

BOSTON — These days, thanks to Covid-19 mask-wearing mandates, masks are no longer just for bank robbers.

Everyone is wearing them.

Log onto the law enforcement website, MassMostWanted.Org and you will see the issue: nearly everyone captured on surveillance caught in the act of breaking the law, is masked.

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“Once upon a time, certainly if you saw someone walk into a store with a mask on, that’s what we call in the business, a clue,” Westwood Police Chief Jeffrey Silva told me.

So, how can detectives identify suspects who are covering their faces?

The short answer is, they rely on other traditional investigative techniques, such as talking to witnesses.

And it turns out, during Covid-19, witnesses are noticing things they might have earlier ignored.

“I think it’s like when you walk into a dark room and your eyes have to adjust to the light, or the lack of light. I think people actually are adjusting to seeing people with masks. And they are paying more attention to some of the things they noticed before, subconsciously, but they didn’t' think to tell us,” Chief Silva said.

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