US cities beef up security ahead of Independence Day
BOSTON - Reuters
Officials said they would deploy record numbers of police and install scores of new surveillance cameras in Boston, New York, Washington and Atlanta. AFP photoSecurity will be tighter than ever in several U.S. cities during Independence Day celebrations this week, which will see some of the largest public gatherings in the country since the deadly Boston Marathon bombings in April.
Security officials said they would deploy record numbers of police and install scores of new surveillance cameras and checkpoints around fireworks displays, concerts and other Fourth of July events in Boston, New York, Washington and Atlanta.
A foiled al-Qaeda-inspired plot to detonate bombs in Canada’s Pacific coast city of Victoria during July 1’s Canada Day holiday, Canada’s equivalent to U.S. Independence Day, has underscored the security concerns.
“The increase (in security) is, of course, related to the Marathon bombing and other global events,” said David Procopio, a spokesman for the Massachusetts State Police, noting that Boston’s Independence Day events were reportedly the Boston Marathon bombers’ initial target.
Call to firework sellers
The National Explosives Task Force (NETF) meanwhile said it has urged fireworks sellers in the U.S. to report buyers who raise suspicion. The Boston bombers used materials from fireworks to build their bombs, as had a man convicted of attempting to bomb New York’s Times Square in 2010. Three people were killed and 264 injured when two pressure-cooker bombs loaded with shrapnel and fireworks-grade gunpowder exploded at the finish line of the Boston Marathon April 15, in the biggest attack on American soil since the Sept. 11, 2001 attack on New York’s World Trade Center towers.
Massachusetts State Police Commissioner Timothy Alben said the state will deploy record numbers of uniformed and undercover cops, install a ‘significant’ number of new surveillance cameras, boost boat patrols, and ban items like backpacks and large coolers at the events.
Police officials in New York and Washington also said they were tightening security. “Coverage includes large numbers of uniformed and plain clothes police officers, police helicopters and boats, additional mobile cameras, radiation detection, and street checkpoints,” said Paul Browne, Deputy Commissioner of the New York City Police Department.