Boston Marathon intensifies security measures as more than 1 million spectators are expected to attend this year’s 118th Boston Marathon to held next month on April 21. The Boston Athletic Association who organizes the event has announced new security measures that include a prohibition on back packs or any bags carried by marathon runners on the bus that transports them to the starting line. The prohibition also applies to spectators along the marathon’s course. The marathon participants will place their gear into plastic bags supplied by the Boston Athletic association prior to the race.
The Marathon has also announced new safety measures that have been implemented on spectators along the 26 mile marathon course. These prohibitions include containers that exceed one liter. In addition, baby strollers will not be permitted along the course of the marathon. Other prohibitions include vests with pockets and costumes that cover the face. Signs and flags cannot exceed 11 inches by 17 inches. The prohibition also includes a general ban on any item that exceeds 15 inches by 5 inches. The Boston Athletic Association has also banned the entry in mid race of any unregistered runners or bicyclists and an additional measure to intensify security.
Marathon officials are strongly suggesting that spectators carry their personal belongings in see-through plastic bags. There will be 3,500 police officers along the marathon route. That is double the numbers of police officers from last year. Colonel Timothy Allen who commands the Massachusetts State Police said there will be an additional 100 security cameras placed upon the marathon route. He urged the public to report any suspicious activity to the police. Boston Athletic Association officials have been planning for months on a security plan in response to last years deadly terrorist attack that resulted in the deaths of three people and injured 260 people after the explosion of two bombs near the finish line.
Last year the Boston Marathon was held on Patriots Day which is a Massachusetts civic holiday observed on the third Monday in April. The holiday commemorates the Battle of Lexington and Concord during the Revolutionary War. All appeared to be normal during last year’s race. Spectators were free to come and go freely and carry bags in and out of the course route. Law enforcement officials swept the course route two times before the explosions. The first sweep occurred approximately one hour before the first explosion went off. There was no forewarning of any impending attack.
On that fateful day two hours after the winner crossed the finish line, but with more than 5,700 runners yet to finish, two bombs exploded on Boylston Street just before the finish line. Two brothers, Tamerian Tsarnaev and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, are suspected of planting the pressure cooker type explosives in backpacks in the vicinity of the finish line. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has been charged with 30 federal charges related to the explosions and faces a possible death sentence. Tamerian Tsarnaev was killed by police days after the explosion. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev made his first court appearance in July where he entered a non-guilty plea for his role in the Boston marathon bombing. He is scheduled for trial to begin November 3rd in Boston. Boston Marathon will intensify security in hope that there will be no repeat of last year’s tragedy.
By John J. Poltonowicz