TODAY   |  April 20, 2013

What it’s like for a city on lockdown

On a typical Friday night in Boston, the streets are teeming with people and traffic but instead Bostonians were hunkered down yesterday, heeding the advice of the authorities to stay inside. NBC’s Katy Tur reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> in the middle of the night when i was out perhaps when i was in college, never did i see the streets of boston so empty. there was not a soul on the street except for reporters or law enforcement trying to get somewhere . once the order was lifted, it started to trickle out. you saw celebration in the streets. they broke into "the star-spangled banner" at one point thanking every officer they saw. trying to get back to normal this morning after the citywide shutdown and as we get a better sense of what that was like.

>> katie has more on that now. good morning.

>> reporter: about a million people ordered to stay inside to lock their doors. boston and its surrounding suburbs were virtually under under siege. a lockdown in the suburbs a shelter in place order in the city.

>> we're asking people to shelter in place. in other words to stay indoors where their doors locked and not to open the door for anyone other than a properly identified law enforcement officer .

>> reporter: it was early friday morning when dzhokhar tsarnaev escaped a police shootout in watertown forcing officials to shut down a 20 block radius and demand residents stay indoors for their own safety.

>> i have never seen it this way. even latest hours of night it's never this quiet.

>> reporter: a mandate that extended to the greater metropolitan area as tsarnaev remained at large.

>> the watch words be careful, be vigilant, call police if you see anything and just be prepared for anything.

>> we can't believe it. when we woke up this morning how quiet. there was nobody on the streets. everything is closed.

>> reporter: boston commons empty. mass transit frozen. fenway park deserted. it was a city on edge.

>> whose truck is this?

>> reporter: a coffee shop owner stood on the street looking for customers. by 10:00 , he served five people. normally that number would be 200.

>> a whole day of revenue. it's the safety of the people, that's more important than a few hundred dollars.

>> reporter: one young man in a baseball hat holding nearly a million captive.