MEMA, BAA on 2014 Boston Marathon security: ‘We need your help’
With this year’s Boston Marathon expected to draw an additional 9,000 runners and a million spectators, security officials are beefing up security measures and pleading with the public cooperate.
Last year’s deadly bombings at the Boylston Street finish line prompted a slew of new restrictions, along the 26.2 mile route, which this year will draw 36,000 runners.
At a press conference Monday, Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency Director Kurt Schwartz said roughly 3,500 security officers will be dispersed along the route. There will also be security checkpoints and an increase in video surveillance, he said.
Security officials want spectators to be especially vigilant and report any suspicious items or activity, and to leave backpacks, containers with more than 1 liter of liquid, bulky clothing, masks, and weapons at home.
Furthermore, spectators are encouraged to carry their items in clear plastic bags.
Kieran Ramsey, an agent in charge of the FBI’s Boston office, said there is “no specific intelligence indicating there is a threat to this year’s marathon.”
“At this point, we don’t have one, nor do we anticipate it,” Ramsey said.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 20, has pleaded not guilty to 30 federal charges in connection to the terror attack, which he allegedly carried out with his late brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev.
“In this world, you never eliminate risk. You never bring it down to zero. But we are working very hard at reducing the risk,” said State Police Colonel Timothy Alben on the massive precautions.
The cost of this year’s additional security measures, Schwartz said, was “not determined, not even estimated…The cost is not driving the plan.”
Spectators are discouraged from carrying:
- Suitcases and rolling bags
- Glass containers or cans
- Any container capable of carrying more than 1 liter of liquid
- Handbags or packages or bulky items larger than 12 inches by 12 inches by 6 inches
- Large blankets/comforters, duvets, sleeping bags
- Props (including sporting equipment and military and fire gear)
- Costumes covering the face or any form-fitting bulky outfits=
Restrictions on runners include:
- No bags will be allowed on shuttle buses between Boston and Hopkinton
- A BAA-provided clear, plastic bag will be given at Number Pick-Up, but they must be left at a gear check on Boston Common
- Personal hydration system products like CamelBack and Thor are prohibited
Participant use of headphones is discouraged, officials said, and fanny pack no larger than 5 by 15 inches to carry food, medicine, phone, etc is permitted.