Britain was mourning the latest innocent victims of violent crime last week after a spate of senseless murders.
In every case, the killer’s sullen face was hidden beneath the disguise of feral society – the hooded top.
Across the country, violence, vandalism, theft and disorder are an everyday menace, created by faceless gangs of youths with little fear of ever being caught.
Streets, trains, buses and shopping centres have become no-go zones for terrified citizens who have been intimidated by hoodies for too long.
The latest victim, just 14, was set upon yards from his home on Thursday night and fatally stabbed in the throat by a baying mob of hooded thugs.
Today the Sunday Express calls for a crackdown on this terrifying trend and demands that police officers get tough and order hoods to be removed in public places.
Just as banks ban people from wearing crash helmets on their premises, we believe high streets and public transport would be safer if hoods were outlawed and exclusion zones imposed.
Without the invisibility they provide, killers, muggers and shoplifters would be made to think twice before carrying out their crime.
The risk of being caught for even an instant on CCTV footage would dissuade scores of criminals and reduce soaring crime rates.
This newspaper wants local authorities, public transport providers, shopping centres and stores to ban the hood and introduce areas where decent people can walk or travel freely without fear of being attacked.
Last night the distraught parents of 11-year-old Rhys Jones, gunned down in cold blood by a hoodie, gave their full support to our campaign to Ban The Hood For Good.
Police have video footage of their son’s teenage killer but no arrests have been made because his face is covered by a sports hood.
Rhys’s father Stephen, 44, said: “I am giving my support to the Sunday Express campaign. I wish it well, both for my son’s sake and for the sake of victims of crime in general.
“Any initiative to give the police a better chance of identification has my backing. Hoodies are a definite problem because they introduce a fear of the unknown.
“We can’t see the faces of the youngsters, and we don’t know who they are. For that reason they come across as a menace, even though in fact they may not be suspicious.”
Stephen’s Everton-mad son was on his way back from football practice in Croxteth Park, Liverpool, on August 22 last year when he was struck in the neck by a bullet from a revolver held by a hoodie on a BMX bike.
Detectives are certain Rhys was caught in the crossfire as the gun-toting teenager fired across the car park of the Fir Tree pub towards members of a rival gang on the other side.
CCTV footage of the suspect broadcast on BBC’s Crimewatch shows a hooded youngster in a black tracksuit cycling near the Fir Tree moments before and after Rhys was shot. His face is obscured, however.
Mr Jones added: “Anything that gives the police a better chance of identifying criminals is a good thing.”
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