SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — It could be a very busy week for San Francisco police between possible celebrations of a possible Giants World Series victory and a certain holiday where fans might dress up like their favorite sports heroes.
SFPD Chief Greg Suhr said police brass are hoping for calm while planning for the possibility of dangerous spontaneous street celebrations, like the ones in the past following major sports victories.
Also, San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee announced Monday the last two World Series games will be televised on a giant screen at the Civic Center, right in front of City Hall. Games 6 and 7 are scheduled to be played in Kansas City.
Whereas sports fans are reluctant to say the word out loud, city officials are planning for a parade, possibly on Friday, when there is already a lot going on in the city.
“As a baseball person, I don’t’ say the ‘p’ word until we squeeze the last out of the fourth win,” said Suhr. “If that happens to happen on Wednesday night and whatever comes after falls on Friday, that will be a very long day for us.”
“It’s Halloween, it’s critical mass, there could be an event on Market Street that draws a ton of people in town,” Suhr said.
On October 29, 2012, following the Giants’ Victory over the Detroit Tigers, some demonstrators got out of hand. Suhr said a man who threw a barricade at a bus and set it on fire had been watching the game at a bar in the city’s financial district. The bus was attacked on Market Street. And there were other tense areas of the city.
“What happened was when the Giants won it and it was a sweep, we ended up with a lot of folks who came out of the bars up and down King Street. So we had issues at the ballpark. For whatever reason, the Mission District, whether it was any one of the five Super Bowls or either of the two World Series championships, as goes the Mission, so goes the city.”
Could the viewing parties at City Hall contribute to potential problems on the street? The chief said absolutely not.
“I think people are misrepresenting what happened in 2012. We had a public viewing in 2012 and we didn’t have any problems,” said Suhr. “It was a concern because we thought that that’s just one more thing to worry about. But it actually ended up being the most peaceful family event that we had.”
The chief said he has never advised the mayor against having viewing parties. On the contrary, he said he welcomes them.
“We want to showcase our town. And then we police it to make sure it’s safe.”
If a parade happens Friday, the timing of the events could help. The parade would probably happen in the morning, finishing just as critical mass’s anarchic bike ride through evening rush hour traffic begins. Halloween revelers hit the bars later into the night.
Potential problem areas will get extra attention.
“Years ago when Halloween was in the Castro, we essentially built a box and then the Muni buses went around the box,” Suhr said. “So now, we may have a few mini-boxes so folks will know where they can go at the end of the celebration to catch transportation.”
Muni buses will not be rerouted around problem spots, unless there are problems. And trash will be picked up ahead of time to make it harder for anyone to light garbage cans on fire.
“We’re working very closely with Recology and DPW to make sure there’s no fuel at the curb. And there are fire extinguishers in every police car now,” Suhr said. “And we’re working closely with MTA to make sure that buses that are normally on the power lines are gas buses” so they can steer around problems as they occur.
Suhr hopes fans will celebrate, just not violently.
“Part of the big story is that we’ve been there before. So we need to act like we’ve been there before. This isn’t like 2010 when it was the first world series since 1958,” Suhr said. “Now this is the third time in 5 years. Just like when the 49ers were winning their five Super Bowls. Be cool. Class. Class city.”
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