Police Inundated With Suspicious Backpack Calls Since Marathon Bombings

By Christina Hager, WBZ-TV

BOSTON (CBS) – They have their robots and bomb-sniffing dogs ready for the two-day Boston Pops Esplanade celebration on July 4th. Massachusetts State Police say they’re getting more calls than ever before to check possible explosives and suspicious items.

From 2011 to 2013, calls more than doubled from 255 to 734. Since the Boston Marathon Bombings they’ve soared. “We’ve seen probably a 30 to 40 percent increase in 2013,” said Trooper Eric Gahagan, a technician with the Massachusetts State Police Bomb Squad.

Related: Esplanade Security Rules

That’s one reason backpacks are banned from the Esplanade during the shows on July 3rd and 4th. There’s a heightened sensitivity. “Before, I would never think twice about it,” said Boston resident Tanya Keverian as she walked along the Esplanade. “I think people are a little overly anxious, with good reason if you lived here and went through all of that.”

Bomb squad members say they’re stretched thin, with 11 members, and no new hires since the number of calls has jumped so dramatically. They hope people continue to keep their eyes open. “If you look at some of the tactics we deploy and some of the threats we face internationally and certainly nationally now, it might be a bag…these are the things we need to know about,” said Gahagan.

The bomb squad will be at both Pops Shows.


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