SF officials out to prevent violence
SAN FRANCISCO -- San Francisco officials are taking tougher measures to prevent potential fan violence on Super Bowl Sunday when the 49ers battle the Baltimore Ravens in New Orleans.
With the Niners' sixth appearance in the big game more than a week away on Feb. 3, San Francisco police said they will be monitoring crowds and bars at multiple hotspots across the city. More than 400 officers will be on duty, triple the number on a normal Sunday.
Mayor Ed Lee is also suggesting that bars limit liquor sales, or at the very least serve alcohol responsibly. But officials say the city doesn't plan to ban hard alcohol.
"(I want) to suggest that they serve something (other) than heavy alcohol during times of celebration," Lee told reporters. "Inebriation sometimes doesn't help with people who want to maybe go beyond the bounds of acceptability in their celebration."
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J.J. Bishop, a bartender at Nova Bar and Restaurant located about two blocks from where baseball's world champion Giants play at AT&T Park, told The Associated Press on Friday he understands the mayor's position.
"It's a wise thing for him to ask the establishments to keep an eye on alcohol consumption," Bishop, 47, said. "I plan on telling my fellow bartenders about what he said. Of course, it's definitely something to keep in mind."
After the Niners won the NFC Championship Game on Sunday, police arrested a dozen people -- a majority for public intoxication -- during rowdy celebrations mostly in the city's Mission district.
Lee also added that he and Police Chief Greg Suhr, prior to the Super Bowl, will visit that area and others hit hard by vandalism and destruction after the Giants clinched the World Series in October. About three-dozen people were arrested during postgame celebrations that got out of control when revelers overturned cars, set bonfires, destroyed property and torched a city bus.
"You'll see me very visible in those areas myself preceding the game," Lee said. "I'm going to walk those corridors again and reassure all the small business owners, merchants and the residents that we're going to do every possible to keep our city safe."
There also will be no public large-screen viewing of the Feb. 3 game in the Civic Center similar to when the Giants won the World Series. The National Football League rejected the idea due to broadcast copyright laws.
"Probably a business decision on their part," Lee said. "We'll respect it. I would love to have that opportunity because it could help us center maybe some of the celebrations, but we're going to keep the city safe."
Also, police and transit officials say that will have more diesel buses instead of electric buses that can easily be redirected through large crowds.
The city will also pick up trash from dumpsters to prevent any fires and there will be street closures beginning the Saturday before the big game, officials said.
Bishop said he remembers seeing the destruction after the Giants won its title three months ago.
"It was a pretty crazy scene. I saw a lot of garbage cans in ashes on the way home. There wasn't one garbage can standing," Bishop said. "I'm hoping it doesn't get too crazy next Sunday."
Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press
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