As you of course know, San Francisco's LGBTQ Pride celebration is this weekend. Part of hosting the "largest LGBTQ celebration in the country," the San Francisco Police Department says, is ensuring the safety of the million-plus attendees of the various celebratory events — and this year, that means a heightened level of security and restrictions on what you can carry into various on-street events.
According to a press release sent by the SFPD, "There will be a significant police presence during Pride activities, with both uniformed and plainclothes officers on duty to monitor public events." It's safe to assume that they will also be monitoring non-events — by which I mean Pink Saturday, the once-annual Pride Saturday Castro street party that met its final demise in 2016.
"We want to remind the public that while the Castro District is open for business, there is no organized event taking place Saturday in the Castro District," police say, and "laws prohibiting possession of open containers of alcoholic beverages and drinking in public will be strictly enforced."
In terms of the Civic Center Pride Festival, police say:
And of course, SFPD reminds everyone that (say it with me) "If you see something, say something." Emergency calls should be made to 911, they say in their press release, but in my opinion it's a lot faster and smarter to program SFPD's direct emergency dispatch number of 415-553-8090 into your phone and use that, instead*. If you have an anonymous tip, call that line at 415-575-4444.
- Celebrants attending the Pride festival in Civic Center will be screened by either walk-through metal detectors or handheld “wands,” and are subject to additional searches of their person and possessions. Please allow extra time to pass though security checkpoints. You can help reduce delays at checkpoints by leaving unnecessary items at home.
- Bags are discouraged. If you must bring a bag, it can be no larger than 18 inches x 18 inches. Bags are subject to search and there are no lockers for storage of oversize bags.
- Alcoholic beverages will be available for purchase inside the Civic Center venue and Pride organizers have a 100% ID check policy. No outside alcohol will be allowed into the venue and possession of open containers or consumption of alcoholic beverages is prohibited on City streets.
Police also have several tips regarding personal safety, many of which can be summed up as "Stranger=Danger." For example, attendees are urged by police to "Keep your friends close and your drinks closer. Don’t accept drinks from strangers."
Also, police say, "There is safety in numbers. Stay with a group when on the street or leaving bars and clubs. 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," the last item of which seems like excellent advice for every situation, not just Pride.
*Why? Because if you're calling from a cell phone and are near a freeway, your call will likely be routed through CHP dispatch first before being sent over to SFPD. That delay can make a huge difference in an emergency.
Related: The SFist Guide To Pride 2017