Last-minute Chinese New Year Parade preparation underway, SFPD says they're ready

Last-minute preparations are underway this Friday for the signature event of the San Francisco's Lunar New Year Festivities – the Chinese New Year Parade. 

Work is underway on the grandstands, and there will be standing room only for this parade. Excitement is building, and the fans are ready.

Union Square is buzzing with activity as crews build grandstands and put up lighting for San Francisco's annual parade. 

Parade goers say it's one of their favorite events. "If you've never been here, this is something you don't want to miss," said Ron DiVino. "We have probably the second-largest Chinese New Year in the world right here in San Francisco and everyone comes out and has a great time."

But this year, as in past years, there is an eye on security. San Francisco's Police Chief Bill Scott says his officers will be lining the parade route and marching as well, although there are no specific or credible threats. 

"Even with that though, often times when things occur, there is no credible threat, there is no warning," said Chief Scott. "So, we have to be prepared for anything and everything."
The chief says uniformed and plainclothes officers will be deployed throughout the parade route and in the crowds.

The police department also took a close look at the circumstances surrounding the Super Bowl parade shooting in Kansas City that left one woman dead and 22 other people injured. 

Chief Scott says he's asking for the public to be on the alert and to follow the advice that if they see something, to say something. "If you see someone with a weapon, please call it in," said Scott. "If you see something suspicious, please call it in and if you see something that looks like it's about to happen and turn to violence, call it in right away. Report what you're seeing. We will be there, we will respond."

With recent political demonstrations over conflict in the Middle East and surrounding the APEC summit, police say they're also prepared for any protests or demonstrations that pop up during the festivities. And while violent crime is top priority, police are warning parade goers to be on the alert for non-violent crime as well. 

Pickpockets and auto burglars notoriously target big events like the parade. "We are heavily deployed and that does make a difference," said Chief Scott. "But, there are people who will take advantage of opportunities that take advantage of people."

Recently, San Francisco police have expanded their use of surveillance technology and say they will be using cameras to scan the crowd and track down any bad actors.

The parade gets underway Saturday 5:15 p.m.


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