The story Nightwatch takes place in a small seacoast town. The neighborhood has many elegant old houses that line Main Street. In the corner of the street, there is an old Colonial Church, which has a big tower with a clock. Bare horse-chestnut trees cast shadows against the old Colonial Church.
The setting is essential because the end of the story would have been different if the incident had happened in another neighborhood and at earlier hours. The area where the incident occurred seems predominantly of whites; therefore, the police officers thought that black youngsters do not belonged in the neighborhood. They assumed that the black youngsters were members of a gang, and that one of them was going to hurt and rob the intoxicated white girl. Excessive force is used by the police officers against the young basketball player, and consequently he is treated as a criminal.