NYC boosts security after India attacks

(The Associated Press circulated the following article on July 12.)

NEW YORK -- New York City increased its transit security Tuesday, sending hundreds of additional officers to patrol subways and conduct random bag searches following deadly bombings on a busy commuter rail system in India.

The New York Police Department said the measures were precautionary and there had been no specific threat to New York. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority also announced increased security on its rail lines, tunnels and bridges, and in Grand Central Terminal and Pennsylvania Station.

''We take a terror attack in any place in the world, especially one on a public transport system, as a serious warning,'' Mayor Michael Bloomberg said.

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said there were no plans to raise the nation's threat level.

''At this time, there is no specific or credible intelligence suggesting an imminent threat to the homeland or our transit systems,'' he said in a statement.

During the evening rush hour in New York, teams of police officers checked commuters' bags inside Penn Station and the Herald Square subway stop, located in the heart of one of Manhattan's busiest shopping districts.

''I don't know how much good this does, but it can't hurt,'' said commuter Steve Cohen, an actuary from Brooklyn.

The city began random bag searches a year ago in response to the mass transit bombings in London. NYPD officials have refused to say how many bags police have searched in the past year, or specify where and when they search them. They argue that by making the searches unpredictable they can keep would-be bombers off-balance.

New York's 468 subway stations serve an average 4.5 million daily riders.

In Washington, the Metro service was not increasing police presence because of the Bombay bombings, spokeswoman Cathy Asato said. However, officers were donning high-visibility vests and announcements urging travelers to be alert for suspicious activity were being played more frequently, she said.

''We've been in touch with the FBI and there's no intelligence to suggest any specific threat against us,'' she said.

New York's two U.S. senators, Charles Schumer and Hillary Rodham Clinton, said in Washington that the India bombings showed the urgent need to increase federal protection for this nation's subways, buses and tunnels, which they called the ''soft underbelly'' of homeland security.

Eight bombs hit Bombay's commuter rail line during rush hour Tuesday, killing scores of people and injuring hundreds more in what authorities called a well-coordinated attack.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006
bentley@ble-t.org

http://www.ble-t.org/pr/news/headline.asp?id=16471

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