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Police to patrol
Castro Halloween party in force

Police to patrol
Castro Halloween party in force

Hundreds of San Francisco police officers, sheriff's deputies, and paramedics will be out this year monitor the gay and lesbian community's massive Halloween street party, which is expected to draw close to a quarter of a million revelers to the city's Castro district. The once-spontaneous and unsanctioned party was taken over by the city three years ago after police recorded five stabbings and a number of assaults in a crowd of 500,000. A chain saw also was confiscated during that event. Officials and gay citizens said the party began attracting gay bashers along with colorful costumed characters, and many gays and lesbians stopped coming. Police said the number of violent incidents has decreased since they erected barriers and banned alcohol. "Everyone is welcome," said supervisor Bevan Dufty, whose district includes the Castro. "But I want everyone to know they are coming to a gay and lesbian neighborhood. I want them to come and have some fun, not come and do bashing." On Thursday, San Francisco's district attorney visited Castro-area businesses promoting the party's motto of "No booze, no drugs, no bashing" and instructing residents about what to do if they are a victim of or witness to a hate crime. (AP)

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