OAKLAND (CBS SF) — Bay Area Rapid Transit and San Francisco Muni both heightened security after word of the death of terrorist mastermind Osama Bin Laden in a U.S. raid in Pakistan.
BART officials said Monday that they’ve temporarily bumped up the number of police patrols on their trains and in their stations as a precaution following the death of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden.
KCBS’ Bob Melrose Reports:
BART spokesman Linton Johnson said there haven’t been any specific threats against the transit agency but officials are “just concerned that there might be retaliation.”
He said half of all terrorist attacks across the world in the last 30 years have involved transportation including trains, buses and airplanes.
Sgt. Edgardo Alvarez, who heads BART’s critical asset patrol team, said 15 officers are monitoring trains and stations today.
Alvarez said his team, which was just formed in January and is funded by a grant from the Transportation Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security, has seven officers. The team was being supplemented Monday by another eight officers.
In addition, transportation supervisors from throughout the agency were also patrolling the system wearing bright green vests to provide even more scrutiny, he said.
Alvarez said BART was asking riders to speak up if they notice any unusual behavior, unattended packages or suspicious activity.
He said train passengers can use the intercom to contact their train operator or they can call BART police.
Alvarez admitted that BART police “can’t be everywhere” and “it’s tough” to prevent all attacks, but he said, “We’re doing the best we can.”
He said police officers were saturating the portions of the BART system that have been deemed most vulnerable.
Alvarez said transit agencies throughout the U.S. have stepped up patrols in the wake of bin Laden’s death.
“Other agencies are doing what we’re doing if not more,” he said.
Along the Muni system, more field inspectors were placed along routes throughout the city, spokesman Paul Rose said.
Muni officials were working with San Francisco police to provide more safety personnel in stations, he said.
The increased security is a precaution, Rose said.
Federal authorities have warned that there is a risk of retaliation against the U.S. for bin Laden’s killing, but no specific threats have been reported.
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