the purge siren

In The Purge, a blaring siren signals the start of violence and mayhem as all crimes — including murder — become legal for 12 hours. It’s only the dystopian premise of a fictional horror series, thank goodness, but every once in a while, when the world gets really bad, the internet will joke that we’re not too far from going through a real-life Purge. So, at a time when the country is especially on edge amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, it’s not a great coincidence when the police of Crowley, Louisiana used The Purge siren to signal the start of curfew.

Residents of Crowley, Louisiana may have had a brief scare Thursday night when the Crowley Police Department started playing a siren to signal the start of a 9:00 P.M. local curfew time that the city was putting in effect due to the coronavirus outbreak. That’s because the siren was the same one heard in The Purge, James DeMonaco’s 2013 horror movie set in a fictional America where all crime becomes legal for 12 hours once a year.

Naturally, the use of The Purge siren went viral, as another omen of the post-apocalyptic times we’re living in. But this wasn’t the intention of the Crowley police, who soon issued an apology for any horror movie lovers they may have frightened by playing a siren from a literal dystopian film.

Crowley Police chief Jimmy Broussard said in a statement to the local ABC news affiliate KATC (via IndieWire) that he was unaware the signal being used for the coronavirus curfew was the same as the one in The Purge, and assured residents that it would not be used again. But people were so riled up by the signal (though thankfully not to the point of committing “legal” crimes, as far as we know) that Acadia Parish sheriff K.P. Gibson released an additional statement:

“Last night a ‘Purge Siren’ was utilized by the Crowley Police Department as part of their starting curfew. We have received numerous complaints with the belief that our agency was involved in this process. We were not involved in the use of the ‘Purge Siren’ and will not utilize any type of siren for this purpose. Calls regarding this matter should be directed to the Crowley Police and Chief Broussard and not the Acadia Parish Sheriff’s Office.”

James DeMonaco 2013 horror film The Purge became an unexpected hit and launched a successful horror series whose social commentary sometime veered a little too close to reality. And horror movie lovers in Crowley felt that even more so, when the Crowley police began playing that siren at the start of a curfew that went into place because the of the city’s location in the state’s Acadia Parish, which has “received the worst rating for the rapid spread of the virus. It has been put into place in order to try and slow the spread.”

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