With the San Francisco 49ers playing their last regular-season game ever at Candlestick Park tonight, police will be out in full force to make sure fans behave themselves.
The game against the Atlanta Falcons, scheduled to start at 5:40 p.m., could be the final one played at the venerable stadium, which opened in 1960 and has been the 49ers’ home since 1971 — although the team could still potentially host a playoff game there.
Police will be on the lookout tonight for anyone who may try to vandalize the stadium in order to take home a keepsake, San Francisco police Sgt. Eric O’Neal said.
“The message is pretty simple,” O’Neal said. “There’s going to be a no-tolerance policy of any crime activity. If people are … wanting to consider taking things, they would just be arrested. There’s no ifs, ands or buts about it.”
The sergeant said the Police Department “will have more officers for this game than we’ve ever had for any other game at Candlestick.”
Next year, the 49ers are moving to the new Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, and Candlestick Park will be demolished by late 2014 or early 2015, according to San Francisco’s Recreation and Park Department, which oversees the stadium site.
Parking lots will open at the stadium at 1:30 p.m. today, and the stadium gates open at 2 p.m.
Motorists are advised to expect delays on all San Francisco highways this afternoon and evening, and fans attending the game are being encouraged to take public transportation.
For more information on San Francisco Municipal Railway special game-day service to and from Candlestick Park, people can visit www.sfmta.com/football.
The 49ers plan on holding pre-game festivities this evening to commemorate the last regular season game at Candlestick.
The team is also encouraging fans to use social media to share their memories of the stadium by using the hashtag #FarewellCandlestick on Twitter or Instagram.
Dan McMenamin, Bay City News