A day after the Boston Marathon blasts, Philadelphia agencies step up their emergency response efforts and ask the public to remain vigilant. And they are.
It is typical to see an increase in 911 calls following a major incident, according to Lt. John Stanford of the Philadelphia Police Department. Yesterday, there were three 911 calls known as 'investigative object calls' or suspicious packages. Today, there were nine.
"You see throughout the world some of the worst threats were thwarted by citizens making observations and notifying the authorities immediately. That's what we are looking for is for people who see an unattended package, to call 911 immediately," said SEPTA police chief Thomas Nestel. "Call right away, don't wait until they get home."
The Philadelphia Police Department is sending the same message, asking the public to call 911 if suspicious activity is seen.
"If things don't appear right, we encourage people to call. But we don't want people to become copycats. If you see something, say something," said Lt. John Stanford.
"People are going to be on a higher level of alert. The longer things stay in the media, the longer that trend will continue," said Stanford. The message to police officers is to be more vigilant on patrol in transportation hubs and at federal buildings and parks.
SEPTA has 12,000 cameras and 1,200 are live-feeds. They enable the agency to monitor activity throughout the system. SEPTA is preparing for the Broad Street Run-- the largest 10-mile in the United States. It takes place on May 5, and safety remains a prime concern.
"Generally on a daily basis, we get about one suspicious package a day that we evaluate. Today in the past six hours, we've had 10 of those type of calls. But, we are okay with it. We encourage it. We want that to be every day," said Nestel.
According to Amtrak media relations manager Craig Schulz, Amtrak continues to operate normally following the Boston Marathon explosions.
Amtrak released the following statement today: The Amtrak Police Department (APD) has stepped up patrols and is conducting increased sweeps of stations, trains and railroad property. APD continues to work with local, state and national law enforcement partners in staffing intelligence centers to share and collect information. Customers should not leave their bags unattended. Any suspicious looking or unattended package, bag, container or luggage found in or near trains, stations, vehicles, or buildings should be immediately reported to APD. Amtrak is asking train crews, station personnel and the traveling public to remain vigilant and report all suspicious activity by dialing 911 or Amtrak Police at 1-800-331-0008.