Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn announced a curfew and a stern warning against looters Sunday morning.
Hurricane Irma was forecast to hit Tampa and other highly populated areas of the Florida west cost as a Category 3 storm.
“We are taking this curfew very seriously,” Buckorn said. It begins at 6:00 pm Sunday local time.
“The curfew will remain in place until we determine there is no risk of [lost] life from downed power lines,” Buckhorn said.
He also said, “Be cognizant once you get back into your neighborhood, of who belongs there and who doesn’t.”
“If you see somebody in your neighborhood who doesn’t live there or doesn’t belong there, call the Tampa Police Department,” Buckhorn added. “We’ll take care of the rest. This is when we are Tampa strong.”
Tampa was not alone. Fort Lauderdale posted on Twitter its own harsh warning which included news of two people arrested.
One Twitter post said, “#FLPD WARNING from Chief: ‘anyone who intends to victimize our neighbors during this difficult time…will be captured and arrested.’”
#FLPD Can’t say we didn’t warn you…28 YOs Ryan Cook & Max Saintvil each face 6 counts of burglary from overnight #HurricaneIrma pic.twitter.com/GyPhAeMAVZ— Fort Lauderdale PD (@FLPD411) September 10, 2017
“We have all of our officers on the streets now,” Buckhorn said of the Tampa Police. Officers had been doing 12 hours shifts. Late Sunday morning, it was all officers on duty.
Buckhorn said at some point when the winds get too high, officers will be instructed to come off the streets and take shelter. The officers will re-emerge when it’s safe.