As the estimated cost for Olympic security soars to nearly six times the original budget, an expert at Simon Fraser University says more needs to be done.

According to RCMP Assistant Commissioner Bud Mercer, there will be about 8,000 law enforcement officials on site during the two-week Games, securing the perimeters of Olympic venues and screening attendees for weapons and other prohibited items.

There will also be hundreds of surveillance cameras installed in and around Olympic sites as well as vehicle and pedestrian screening. All newspaper boxes will be removed from the perimeter of Olympic venues.

Cpl. Jen Allan, spokeswoman for the Vancouver 2010 Integrated Security Unit, said the ISU receives intelligence from both domestic and international security partners, conducts ongoing risk assessments and devises tactics accordingly.

“We’re confident in where we are in terms of planning,” she said.

However, Douglas Ross, a political science professor at Simon Fraser University who specializes in foreign policy and international security studies, said Vancouver has been ill-prepared from the get-go, calling the original budget of $175 million — which has since jumped to about $1 billion — “a joke.”

“They’re trying to classify and hide everything because they really haven’t done enough,” Ross said. He sites the lack of screening of all cargo at Vancouver ports as an example.

“If terrorist groups were to think that security was less than fully effective here … they might get the idea that this is a good target where there will be a lot of sitting Americans. I’m not sure that people in Ottawa, or VANOC, are really taking this seriously.”

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