PETERSBURG, VA (WWBT) - Stay off the streets at night! That's the message from Petersburg city leaders who have implemented a curfew in response to Hurricane Irene.
Petersburg and other localities statewide have imposed curfews for several reasons. One, for public safety and to reduce the chance of a criminal breaking into an evacuated home that has storm damage or is without power.
Dorcas Downing's home is no longer livable. During the storm, a tree tumbled -- slicing through the roof.
"I got friends over and we started getting stuff out of the house," said Downing.
She is concerned about her items being exposed and thieves taking those items, especially at night.
"There's no power it's dark and easy for people to break-in," said Downing.
That's part of the reason why Petersburg declared a curfew.
Other than emergency personnel no vehicle or pedestrian is allowed on the streets between 11pm and 6am.
"If people are hanging out on the streets - pedestrians walking around - they're going to be stopped by police and told to go home and if they don't go home police will take further action," said Petersburg spokeswoman, Joanne Williams.
Public safety is the priority say city leaders. Numerous trees are in roadways and many power lines have plummeted to the ground.
There are exceptions to the curfew in Petersburg. You are exempt if you work at night and need to travel to your job or if you have an emergency and need to leave your home.
In Colonial Heights city leaders lifted its curfew Monday afternoon. Police say many of the streets are now clear and many residents have had power restored.
Back in Petersburg, business owner Dangelette Dokes, calls the curfew an extra layer of protection for her restaurant.
"I think it's a good idea for safety reasons. A lot of businesses are closed around after 5 or 6 -- so that's like extra protection for us," said Dokes.
Petersburg's curfew will remain in effect until further notice.