Extra police and safety officers will be deployed throughout the City and some streets may be closed on Super Bowl Sunday when the San Francisco 49ers face off with the Kansas City Chiefs.
“Safety has to be the priority as we celebrate,” Mayor London Breed said at a press conference Friday at Kezar Stadium. “We want to make sure that as we celebrate — finger’s crossed — hopefully, a victory during this Super Bowl, that the victory doesn’t turn into something other than a happy celebration.”
Police Chief Bill Scott said police would work together with local agencies to deploy extra officers throughout the City on Sunday.
“When it goes from celebratory exuberance to criminal behavior, setting fires, vandalizing property, we have to come in and maintain order,” Scott said.
Police were criticized by some community members for a heavy presence following the 49ers NFC Championship game win Jan. 19. Officers in riot gear shut down areas of the Mission District, leading to an outcry from local advocates who claimed they were unfairly targeting certain neighborhoods.
According to Scott, the gear was used because of reports of bottles being thrown at police officers, fires and spontaneous sideshows. Scott said that while specific neighborhoods would not be targeted, officers would be deployed accordingly to areas with restaurants and bars where watch parties have the potential to get rowdy.
“We’ve learned our lessons from the past,” Scott said. “We’ll be working together with the community and other departments.”
At the 49ers’ last Super Bowl appearance in 2013, police and the City braced for violent fan reactions that never came. After the Giants’ World Series win in 2012 and 2014, however, there were outbreaks of vandalism and police made dozens of arrests responding to fires, gunshots and stabbings.
“My biggest concern is for the safety of those in our department,” said Fire Chief Jeanine Nicholson. “We still need to be able to do our jobs whether there’s a celebration or not.”
In anticipation of celebrations, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency announced that starting at halftime at 5:15 p.m. streets may be closed on Mission Street between Cesar Chavez and 21st Street, and on 24th Street between Bartlett and Potrero Avenue.
People can sign up for AlertSF to stay informed by texting SF49ERS to 888-777 to receive emergency text message alerts.
Despite the safety precautions, Friday’s press conference ended with a collective “Go Niners!” from the City officials.