In the aftermath of Monday’s attack on the Boston Marathon, anxious citizens in towns and cities across the country have called in reports of suspicious packages to their local police departments.
Thus far, it does not appear that any of the identified packages in fact posed any immediate danger to people in the surrounding area. Suspicious packages have been reported in New York, N.Y.; Cambridge, Mass.; Cincinnati, Oh.; Kansas City, Mo.; Los Angeles County, Calif.; Newark, N.J.; Seattle, Wash.; and Allentown, Penn., among other localities.
“I think everybody is a little warier, stands at attention a little stronger,” said Cincinnati police Sergeant Bill Hahn of the officers in his department. He attributed the suspicious package reports in part to “the extra vigilance of people…when they hear of something like Boston.”
In his Tuesday morning address to the nation, President Obama urged extra vigilance.
“This is a good time for all of us to remember that we all have a part to play in alerting authorities,” he said. “If you see something suspicious, speak up.”
Though police departments in some major cities, such as New York, have increased security in the immediate aftermath of the Boston attack, others have continued to follow established procedure.
“I think we’re obviously concerned with what’s happened in Boston, and I think any city would feel pretty much the same,” said Hahn. “But as far as specific precautions, I don’t think we’re doing anything extra.”
In one Tuesday incident, security at the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minn., found a suspicious package in a nearby trash can and called in the Bloomington bomb squad.
“This isn’t all that unusual for them to find something like that,” Bloomington police commander Kevin Herman told msnbc. However he said that mall security was “probably extra vigilant” after the prior day’s events.
But one thing was different about this suspicious package report, Herman confirmed: Unlike most similar incidents at the Mall of America, this one seemed to attract an unusual amount of media interest.