Issue:  Vol. 48 / No. 8 / 22 February 2018

SF police offer Pride safety message

Celebrating at the 2007 Pride parade. Photo: Rick Gerharter

Celebrating at the 2007 Pride parade. Photo: Rick Gerharter

The San Francisco Police Department has issued a message urging everyone to be safe during the city’s LGBT Pride celebration and parade, set for Saturday, June 24-Sunday, June 25. Hundreds of thousands of people from around the world will be in the city for events taking place in the week around the festival.

Police are “working closely with Pride organizers and our city partners to make Pride Week a safe and enjoyable event for everyone,” stated Police Chief William Scott. “San Francisco is a very welcoming city and SFPD is proud to protect and serve everyone joining us from near and far for this year’s Pride celebration.”

Police are also reminding people that no organized event is set for the Castro on Saturday night, and the streets will remain open.

“Laws prohibiting possession of open containers of alcoholic beverages and drinking in public will be strictly enforced,” police said. “San Francisco and the Castro District offer a wide variety of restaurants and entertainment venues and we encourage celebrants to patronize local businesses and to celebrate responsibly.”

The night before the main Pride festival had been known for the Pink Saturday party that drew thousands of people to the Castro’s streets, but the party ended after growing concerns about violence.

As with last year’s festival, people attending the 2017 celebration in Civic Center will have to pass through metal detectors or be checked by handheld wands.

Bags may also be searched, and people are encouraged to leave them at home. Any bags larger than 18 inches by 18 inches won’t be allowed, and lockers won’t be available.

Police also warned, “Don’t accept drinks from strangers,” and be “cautious about leaving a bar or club with a stranger. A rule of thumb is that if you feel ‘unsure’ about someone, rely on that instinct and do not go with that person.”

No outside alcohol will be allowed inside the Pride celebration gates.

Both uniformed and plainclothes officers will be on hand in “significant” numbers at Pride-related events, police said. Anyone who sees suspicious activity is encouraged to contact event staff or a police officer.

Many of the security measures were put in place after the June 12, 2016 massacre at Orlando, Florida’s gay Pulse nightclub, where Omar Mateen fatally shot 49 people and wounded 53 before he died in a shootout with police.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, June 21, 2017 @ 1:23 pm PST
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