The San Francisco Police Department released a statement today (Friday, June 22) urging people to be safe over the city’s LGBT Pride celebration weekend. Parties are being held around the city, including the Saturday, June 23 Pink Saturday festival in the Castro neighborhood and the Sunday, June 24 Pride Parade and celebration, which will draw hundreds of thousands of people to the streets.
“The San Francisco Police Department joins the LGBT community at large in celebrating Pride Week,” stated Police Chief Greg Suhr. “Along with our members, we’re working with many groups in a spirit of cooperation and good-will to make Pride Week 2012 a positive and safe experience for all.”
There will be significant police presence throughout the weekend, with both uniformed and plain-clothes officers on duty to monitor events. In their statement, police remind people that Pink Saturday is an alcohol-free event.
“To assist with this celebration, police officers will patrol the venue and will be alert for persons possessing open containers of, or consuming alcoholic beverages, on streets, sidewalks and parks,” officials stated.
Police advise celebrants to report suspicious people or activity to bar or Pride staff, or officers; keep an eye on your drink; travel in groups; and “Be cautious about leaving a bar or club alone with a stranger,” among other tips.
“A rule of thumb is that, if a person feels ‘unsure’ about another, rely on that instinct and do not go with that person,” police stated.
In a recent interview, San Francisco police Lieutenant Teresa Gracie, the out lesbian who heads the SFPD’s special investigations division, discussed people being reluctant to report crimes, including because they may not trust officers.
“People have different reasons for not reporting. … It’s not necessarily their feeling toward police,” she said. Other reasons could include not wanting to be named in police reports, she said. Crime victims may also doubt that anything will come of reporting incidents.
But Gracie encourages people to report crimes.
“We have to get these people into custody, or someone else is going to be a victim,” she said.
“These situations, a lot of times, become more violent each time,” if, for example, it’s “someone going out there regularly and targeting the gay community.” She said it’s also important for witnesses to come forward with information.
For more information, visit www.sf-police.org