Saturday, July 09, 2005

New York's take on those mysterious packages

More debate about whether you would take any notice of those discarded packages on a train - and more about the problem of making trains secure.
This in today's New York Times on the New York subway situation:
Yesterday, the city's Police Department announced it would continue to have at least one officer on every subway train during the commuter rush, which began after the London bombings, until next Friday.
And in December 2002, the authority unveiled a public awareness campaign featuring a slogan: "If you see something, say something." The message seems to be working. On Thursday, the police recorded 28 calls about suspicious packages in the transit system, according to Paul J. Browne, a police spokesman.
Far less, though, has been done in purchasing and installing equipment to protect the system from attack. Part of the problem is the open nature of transit systems, which by their nature cannot strictly control access, as is the goal in commercial aviation.
Brian M. Jenkins, a counterterrorism consultant at the Rand Corporation who has studied terrorist attacks on transit systems across the world, said that transit agencies have to work on four tasks simultaneously - deterrence, prevention, mitigation of casualties and prompt response by emergency workers in the event of an attack - and not just on public awareness.


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