SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Police were out in force in Candlestick Park for Sunday’s NFC championship game between the San Francisco 49ers and the New York Giants.
Besides having extra officers patrolling the stadium, police warned that any harassment or threatening gestures of visiting fans would not be tolerated.
There was some good-natured taunting of Giants fans walking into the park from the muddy lots on the outskirts of Candlestick. But several said they were taking it all in stride.
“It doesn’t faze me at all,” said Sean Trachtenberg, 35, from Brooklyn, N.Y.
“I’m from Brooklyn and I’ve seen it all,” he said as some 49ers fans yelled at them to go home.
“I’m more worried about the rain. It’s all in good fun,” his girlfriend, Thelma Lima, said, referring to the wet weather that the region had been getting over the weekend.
Giants fans entering the stadium were handed a card with details on how to contact police if they felt threatened, while undercover officers dressed in Giants gear would be in the crowd to make sure hometown fans don’t get out of line.
Joseph Chan, a security usher for the 49ers, said undercover officers were everywhere, and noted he doesn’t like it when the crowd gets unruly.
“What happened if there was an earthquake? We’d all have to help each other. We all have to respect each other,” he said.
Extra video cameras were installed for the game. NFL security director Jeff Miller told The Associated Press that if the cameras or undercover police catch abusive behavior by fans, they would be yanked from the stadium.
“We’ll be looking early on to identify people trying to do those things in the parking areas and take action to remove them,” said Miller, who will attend the game. “We’re not going to be warning people inside the stadium. They will be removed.”
Police also had extra officers on duty when the 49ers beat the New Orleans Saints 36-32 on Jan. 14. During and after that game, police say 19 people were arrested on misdemeanor charges, while one person was arrested on suspicion of selling counterfeit tickets.
San Francisco police Chief Greg Suhr said he heard first-hand how Saints fans were treated during the game when he gave three of them a lift from the stadium into the city afterward.
He said they gave him an earful about how badly they’d been belittled.
He said Mayor Ed Lee instructed him to do whatever it takes to make Giants fans feel safe.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.