HUDSON COUNTY – Security will be beefed up for the foreseeable future at local transit hubs and public buildings throughout the region in response to the Boston Marathon bombings earlier this week.
For the third straight day, commuters in the New York City Metro area were met with an increased police presence at on subways, in train stations, ferry stops, and transit hubs everywhere.
Some local police departments have also announced plans to increase security at public events and municipal buildings.
“NJ Transit is currently in a heightened state of alert,” according to a statement from spokesman John Durso Jr. “While there has been no specific threat made to our transit system at this time, NJ Transit police have deployed both uniformed and plain clothed officers to further patrol our system and keep customers safe. NJ Transit police are also in constant communication with local, state, and federal authorities. We remind customers to observe their surroundings and report any suspicious activity to NJ Transit police [at] 1-888-TIPS-NJT.”
NJ Transit regulates local bus service throughout Hudson County, in addition to the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail system, and commuter train lines that run through Secaucus and Hoboken.
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey – which operates the local PATH system that services Jersey City, Hoboken, Newark, Harrison, and New York – had no comment Wednesday regarding what measures are being taken to increase security on the PATH system.
Local police departments have, however, increased their own security efforts.
Hoboken spokesman Juan Melli said Wednesday, “Our police have stepped up patrols and visibility at all transit stations and public buildings and they are working in cooperation with NJ Transit and the Port Authority police.”
Melli added that he expects this increased security to be still be in place for Hoboken’s upcoming Spring Art and Music Festival, scheduled for Sunday, May 5.
Similarly, in Jersey City Jersey City Police Chief Thomas Comey announced Tuesday that attendees at the upcoming City Council and mayoral debates will be subjected to bag searches before entering buildings.
“Law enforcement throughout this country remains in a heightened sense of security. Events attended by large numbers of people require an increased level of screening for the safety of all those involved,” Comey said.
A release issued on Comey’s behalf said the Jersey City Police Department is “reluctant to release the specifics of their ‘high-alert’ tactics to avoid undermining the success and integrity of such, the police chief said that events that attract large crowds will have screenings and searches."
Jersey City residents who plan to attend tonight’s mayoral debate at Saint Peter’s University’s MacMahon Student Center scheduled for 7:30 p.m. are being encouraged to arrive early to accommodate the added security searches.
“We urge people to be patient and more importantly observant,” said Jersey City Mayor Jerramiah T. Healy. “If you believe you see something suspicious, call the police department. – E. Assata Wright