Halloween safety emphasized in Castro District

October 31, 2010 1:22:41 PM PDT
The city of San Francisco is asking people not to celebrate Halloween in the Castro. They issued the same request last year but tens of thousands of people showed up anyway.

Several Castro District community groups are demonstrating how to call for help in the event of violence on Halloween. The night can be scary enough, but no one wants it to be terrifying.

"Safety is always relative. The incidents that have happened here have been isolated, but they have affected people. But, once the crowd gets to the point where it's hard to control, it makes the situation more dangerous," Greg Carey says.

The 2006 street party did get dangerous. Nine people were shot. Most were grazed by bullets. One woman was trampled. This year, as in other years, local safety groups handed out whistles in case someone is attacked or witnesses any type of trouble or violence.

Sister Vicious of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence says the whistle saved a fellow nun weeks ago.

"If you hear a whistle blowing like crazy please call 9-1-1," she told a crowd Saturday.

Police have a stepped up patrols in the area. So has the Castro Community On Patrol and the Triangle Marshall Arts Association, but officers say people have to celebrate responsibly.

"Don't be a victim. We have to be responsible for our actions as a community. Don't allow yourselves to be a victim by, perhaps, overindulging at times at night," Sgt. Chuck Limbert says.

The safety whistles were welcomed by those who worry about the celebration turning ugly every year.

"It's very scary sometimes walking around and it's nice to know that if you do blow the whistle, someone will hear you," Claudia Gardner says.

Some local residents do not care about the whistle or celebrating Halloween. They have seen the violence the night can bring and now want no part of it.


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