BOSTON (CBS) – Big changes are coming to the Boston Marathon this year. In his first appearance as Security Analyst for WBZ-TV, former Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis provided exclusive insight on securing the event.
The changes will begin in Hopkinton. Runners will not be allowed to bring backpacks to the starting line and “bandits” will no longer be allowed to jump into the race.
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“It takes a community. It really requires that people get engaged in their own security,” Davis says. “You couldn’t put a police officer every 20 feet along 26.2-miles, we don’t have enough cops in Massachusetts to do that. So the things that (Boston Police Commissioner) Bill Evans is talking about, putting common sense safety precautions in place, making sure that the bandits are not able to run, paying attention to backpacks and to strollers. Those are all things that need to happen this year. To make that statement that this is going to be a safe race.”
The race passes through eight different cities and towns. In some spots, metal barriers will keep crowds on sidewalks. There will also be more video surveillance used this year and the FBI Terrorism Task Force will provide “substantially enhanced assistance.”
Watch More Analysis From Ed Davis
Davis says law enforcement will be keeping a close eye on areas where large crowds congregate. “Strings of people stretched out across the route are not an attractive target to terrorists,” Davis says. “But when you have dozens, or hundreds of people, or thousands of people, like at the finish line, pulling together, coming together, those are the areas we will be paying close attention to, or the police will be paying very close attention to.”
Last year, there were 864 Boston Police officers along the route in the city alone. Davis says the number of officers on patrol will rise “substantially.”
Although there will be an increased police presence, Davis says officers will be working to make the runners and spectators comfortable. “There is a balancing act that is being played by (Commissioner) Bill Evans, by the mayor and by Tom Grilk from the BAA, and all of the people that come together, to make this a safe race,” Davis says. “They want people to come and enjoy themselves. But they also want them to be confident that nothing bad is going to happen.”
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