NEW YORK (PIX11)-- There are seven words on some signs around the city that are generating much reaction. This said, some would say that a business telling its customers, "Do not enter with hoodie or mask" is profiling.
Joe Stark has a different perspective, "I would classify it as crime prevention."
Stark is the creator of the sign. A Philadelphia resident with a background in marketing and advertising, Stark said in a phone call on Tuesday that he recently came into the city and sold between 200 to 250 signs to various businesses at $10 dollars a pop.
The the reaction of the business owners according to him: "They love it. They love it."
However, up in the area of Frederick Douglass Blvd and West 126th Street, one of the signs was ripped a part. Meanwhile at three other businesses in the Harlem neighborhood the signs were hanging prominently for customers to see. While the message is quite clear, Stark says the one thing the signs are not doing is profiling, "In every race of people we have a few bad seeds."
Stark also said, "We've got white people that rob. We've got black people that rob. We got Hispanic people that rob. We got Asian people that rob."
Stark, who coincidentally is black himself, also conveyed that he is simply tired of certain sectors in urban America being overwhelmed by crime.
Acknowledging that in his efforts to try and help small businesses combat it, he was not focused on how the signs would be interpreted, "Weren't concerned about this controversy. There is controversy in everything that happens. But this is something that really needed to be addressed and should have been addressed before now."
Anwar Alkobadi has a sign up at his bodega Candy.
While admitting that a part of the reason he purchased the sign was for a protective measure during Halloween, he admits it will still be up after the weekend, but he also adds he has not had any flak from customers, "I thought it's a good idea as long as too keep people, you know the bad people actually from being around the business, but in regards to my customers and stuff like that, they've been good. They've been ok with me."