Los Angeles police step up patrols at entertainment sites

08:26, May 04, 2010      

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Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca said on Monday that law-enforcement officers have beefed up patrols around entertainment sites in the wake of the New York Times Square bomb threat.

"New York is another wake-up call to us in the United States," said Lee Baca. "We cannot afford to not be aware of what happened in New York."

He said he was unaware of any new threats to the L.A. region, but his department already had a heightened alert at entertainment sites like Universal Studios and City Walk.

While pledging preparedness to handle any possible attack, Lee Baca also urged the public to be on high alert.

Although excellent counter-terrorism resources exist, "the reality of the situation in New York was it was a member of the public who prevented a horrific explosion," he noted.

"We have an extensive awareness at Universal Studios. But we rely on the public substantially to spot anything unusual and report it," he said. "Large gatherings of people are among the most obvious targets."

Meanwhile, Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) Capt. Horace Frank said the department's counter-terrorism operation long ago identified potential targets and maintained special vigilance in regard to possible targets of terror attacks.

"There are no threats to Los Angeles to our knowledge," said Frank, who is head of the LAPD's bomb squad. "We trained officers to respond to suspicious packages ... We have one of the largest bomb detection operations in the country, and we engage the public as our eyes and ears."

New York police foiled a bomb attempt Saturday night after a street vendor reported noticing a SUV emitting smoke.

An ensuing investigation found that the SUV left at Times Square had an explosive device smoldering inside.

There was no explosion. The device was dismantled and there were no reports of injuries.

New York police said the incident is being investigated as a possible retribution for a recent "South Park" TV episode that depicted the Islamic prophet Muhammad dressed in a bear costume



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