Bin Laden death: LAPD increases patrols of religious institutions, 'high profile' terrorist targets
Local authorities are increasing patrols at religious institutions and other potential terrorist targets in the wake of the death of 9/11 mastermind Osama bin Laden.
LAPD Deputy Chief Mike Downing, commanding officer of the Counter-Terrorism and Special Operations Bureau, said Sunday night that in the near term, there would be additional patrols around "high-profile targets." Police will be on the lookout for terrorist activities and possible hate crimes.
"We are somewhat concerned about any retaliation because of his [Bin Laden's] death," Downing said. "But with our partnerships and relationships that we've built over the last four or five years, we will stand with these communities to resist any attacks or hate incidents."
The LAPD has worked hard over the last five years in its outreach, particularly to build relationships and partnerships in the Muslim community in Los Angeles, which Downing called "our strength."
Downing cautioned that the public should be on the lookout for any behavior that has a "nexus to any type of terrorist activity with a focus on harming innocent people."
He said the LAPD would also be watching closely for hate crimes in schools or places of worship and urged anyone who sees unusual activity to contact the LAPD through iwatchla.org or through the (877) A-THREAT tip line.
Even with the death of Bin Laden, Downing said the relationship-building would continue. "This is the longer-term solution to the threat of violent extremism," Downing said, noting that LAPD officials would be meeting with Muslim community leaders in the L.A. area to discuss how these events will shape the new era in improved relations between the community and police.
Gina Marie Lindsey, executive director of Los Angeles World Airports, which operates Los Angeles International, Ontario International and Van Nuys airports, said all of the facilities were on heightened alert.
“We have our antenna out higher than normal,” she said.
Lindsey would not elaborate on security measures or detail what types of new patrols might be used at LAX.
Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca has also said his department is on heightened alert and urged residents to be watchful for suspicious activity.
-- Andrew Blankstein and Dan Weikel