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Houston mayor imposes curfew to prevent looting

HOUSTON (UPI) — Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner announced Tuesday night that he will enforce a curfew to prevent looting and other “potential criminal acts” as the city struggles to from Hurricane Harvey.

Rescue workers bring in a family through rising flood waters in the Cypress Station neighborhood as waters rise during Tropical Storm Harvey in Houston on Monday. Today, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner announced a curfew will go into effect to prevent looting. Rescue workers will be exempt from the curfew. (Photo by Jerome Hicks/UPI)

The curfew will begin at 12 a.m. and last until 5 a.m. Turner initially announced that the curfew would begin at 10 p.m. but revised the start time soon after the announcement.

The curfew will “stop any property crimes against evacuated homes in city limits,” Turner wrote on Twitter. The mayor added that a curfew was used in Houston in 2008 after Hurricane Ike caused widespread damage throughout the city.

People exempt from the curfew include flood relief volunteers, people seeking shelter and people going to and from work, Turner said. Curfew violators will be questioned and subject to arrest.

Earlier Tuesday, Houston law enforcement officials announced they would have zero tolerance for looters and had already made several arrests, reported the Houston Chronicle. The penalty for looting is up to 20 years in prison.

“People displaced or harmed in this storm are not going to be easy prey,” said Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg. “Anyone who tries to take advantage of this storm to break into homes or businesses should know that they are going to feel the full weight of the law.”

“This is Texas, we’re tough,” said Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo. “We’re a really good city, we’re a welcoming city. We’re a city that’s about diversity and opportunity…but we’re not a city that’s going to tolerate victimizing people at the lowest point in their life.”

Written by UPI writer Ray Downs

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Houston mayor imposes curfew to prevent looting