In December 2023, the city council in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, set a national precedent by establishing a ban on ski masks. According to leaders within the community, the accessory was notably used to hide the identities of individuals committing criminal acts.
Now, The Shade Room’s Justin Carter is delving into if, why, and how the ban is being enforced by local authorities.
Here’s How Philly’s Ski Mask Ban Came About
COVID-19, the global pandemic which hit the world in 2020, prompted the widespread wearing of face masks. However, according to Carter, rapper Pooh Shiesty seemingly inspired the world to kick the accessory up a notch.
The rapper was known for wearing a ski mask that covered not only his mouth but his entire head, leaving only his eyes for public view. However, the trend set by Shiesty ahead of his 2021 incarceration may have sparked issues nationwide.
In September 2022, five masked people shot into a crowd at a junior varsity football game. According to Carter, a fourteen-year-old was killed and four others injured. In 2023, a masked man shot and killed a 15-year-old student on a city bus. Additionally, later that year, a man in a ski mask and body armor left five people dead and two injured.
The use of the accessory reportedly made solving the crimes in a timely manner much more difficult for authorities. This prompted the city council to pass its ban on ski masks in public city spaces.
Is The Ban Legal? Is It Being Enforced?
According to Carter, the new legislation has prompted many to question whether the accessory ban is legal. Will it deter crime, and how is it being enforced? Those are just some of the other questions the ban has sparked.
Furthermore, Carter spoke exclusively to Ernest Owens, Editor-At-Large for Philadelphia Magazine, for his initial reaction to the ban.
“Pooh Shiesty? Like there’s an actual ban on this mask. Like what is this?” Owens told Carter. “Is there any research on this? Is there any data? Like there’s nothing that would support the idea on crime.”
During his research, Carter noted that he couldn’t establish a link between the rise in crime and the popularization of ski masks.
Scroll above to watch as Justin Carter speaks with those expected to enforce the legislation and investigates how the ban has impacted crime.