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Bay Area law enforcement vow to increase security at Lunar New Year festivities

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) — Police agencies across the Bay Area are planning to increase security around local Lunar New Year events following the mass shooting in Monterey Park.

The Year of the Rabbit was greeted in San Francisco’s Chinatown with a mix of drumbeats and heavy hearts for the victims of the mass shooting in Monterey Park, on the eve of Lunar New Year celebrations.

“So I just want to take a moment of silence for those families and those victims who lost their lives to this tragedy,” said San Francisco Mayor London Breed.

Breed called for prayers in the wake of the tragedy.

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There was a noticeable police presence at this Lunar New Year kickoff event in Portsmouth Square with San Francisco Police officers and sheriff deputies on patrol.

Law enforcement officials say have been monitoring events in Southern California and promise to have a visible presence in the Asian Community over the next several weeks.

“We will also make sure we increase our presence during the parade, any public gatherings, and any public gathering we will be there,” said SFPD Assistant Chief David Lazar.

“Right now, we’re partnering with the police department, trying to make sure everyone is safe during the Lunar New Year Celebration, especially in large event areas,” said San Francisco Sheriff Paul Miyamoto.

Lunar New Year parade officials are asking its volunteers to be vigilant.

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“We are alerting our volunteers and parade marshalls to be vigilant. If they spot something out of the ordinary, report it to officers,” said San Francisco Lunar New Year Parade Director Harlan Wong.

In the South Bay, San Jose Police tweeted that it’s monitoring the tragic event in Monterey Park, “We do not believe there is a connection to San Jose.”

In Oakland, police are also stepping up patrols for new year events. A statement reads, “OPD will continue to patrol the city of Oakland, providing additional resources and high visibility where necessary, including within our Chinatown community. The safety of our residents, businesses, and visitors is of utmost importance.

Oakland Chinatown Chamber Foundation President Carl Chan says after years of reported attacks on AAPI seniors, he had hope for 2023.

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“There have been so many things happening in our AAPI community, so we thought with a new year, things would be getting better,” Chan said.

Community leaders say while it’s a time for grief and reflection, Lunar New Year is about new beginnings.

“And of course, celebrate a little bit harder with your community that’s how we’re going to make sure love conquers hate, not the other way around,” said Malcolm Yeung, executive director of the San Francisco Chinatown Community Development Center.

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