Law and order: Curfew America
War zone security has arrived in the US as cities are shut down at night by police struggling to control a deadly wave of gun crime. David Usborne reports from Hartford, Connecticut
Wednesday, 20 August 2008
The police state has not arrived quite yet but it may feel like it to the residents of some American cities, where a handful of embattled mayors and police chiefs are imposing strict and sometimes sweeping curfews as a last resort to quell new waves of gun violence this summer.
"We must do this because we cannot and will not tolerate innocent people, especially children, to be victims," insists Eddie Perez, the Mayor of Hartford, the capital of Connecticut, where a night-time curfew was introduced last week and will remain in effect for a month for those under 18 years old.
Nor are there any apologies from the authorities in Helena-West Helena on the banks of the Mississippi in Arkansas, small pockets of which are under a24-hour curfew that all ages must respect. Police are enforcing it, moreover, with night-vision goggles and M16 military rifles.