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LAPD to Lakers Fans: 'We Do Not Celebrate Victory by Destroying the City'

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Lakers fans celebrate victory in 2009. See more photos of the riots here and the damage here (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
City officials this afternoon pulled the same move they did before Michael Jackson's funeral: stay away from downtown. And last Summer, it worked, but can a Lakers victory mean peace in the streets?

Back in 2000, things got insane. 20,000 people were locked inside the Staples Center as some 10,000 were outside in the chaos where 12 people were injured and a news van was burned. In 2001, another little riot occurred, but to less of an extent. Last year, it happened again, which caught police off guard, considering it was an away game. Damage was sustained throughout downtown (see photos here, here and here and also this video).

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa urged Angelenos to celebrate responsibly, peacefully and respectfully at a 4:30 p.m. press conference. "If you don't have a ticket for game 7, we encourge you to save this time with family or friends," he said. "Let's be safe tomorrow, let's go Lakers."

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"This is a great time for Los Angeles," added LAPD Chief Charlie Beck. "This is great city made even greater by this Lakers team. We need to come together as a community and recognize we do not celebrate victory by destroying the city."

Beck wouldn't release deployment numbers but warned there would be hundreds of officers on the streets, including areas that will be shut down with ticket checkpoints.

Los Angeles Fire Department Chief Millage Peaks noted that tomorrow is also a big Mexico World Cup game and that the ambulances transport over 500 people in a day. "Tomorrow we don't want to transport not one person as a result of doing something stupid while celebrating the victory of the Los Angeles Lakers."

Beck summed it up well: "make this city better by the way we celebrate victory."