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How local police are preparing for the Boston Marathon following the NYC subway shooting

Police setting up a barricade on Brookline Avenue in Kenmore Square. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
Police setting up a barricade on Brookline Avenue in Kenmore Square. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

Local law enforcement are on heightened alert in response to a shooting at a New York City subway Tuesday that injured at least 16 people, as the Boston area prepares for its first springtime marathon weekend in three years.

Boston-area police stressed during a press conference Tuesday afternoon that there is no evidence of a threat — “credible or otherwise” — to the MBTA or the Boston Marathon itself, which will return Monday on its traditional Patriots’ Day date for the first time since before the COVID-19 pandemic.

Still, authorities said they remain in close contact with federal partners and their counterparts in New York. Transit police said the MBTA has increased the number of uniformed officers throughout the system and deployed bomb-sniffing dogs to perform protective sweeps.

“In the short term, you can expect to see an increased police presence around MBTA stations the next couple of days [into] the weekend,” acting Boston police commissioner Greg Long said, adding “we’ll adjust our assets accordingly around the marathon” depending on what kind of information the department receives in the coming days.

As of Tuesday afternoon, New York police were still searching for the subway gunman, who reportedly released a canister of smoke on a train during morning rush hour before opening fire. The man’s motive remains unclear, and police are not currently investigating the attack as an act of terrorism.

“Until we know more about exactly what this is, I’d be careful about drawing too many conclusions about it,” Gov. Charlie Baker told reporters Tuesday.

Boston Mayor Michelle Wu said she had been in contact with New York City Mayor Eric Adams and wished the city “every bit of strength right now.”

“We in Boston and New York are separated by rivalries here and there,” Boston Athletic Association CEO Tom Grilk said. “But when it comes to something happening, we are united, and we send them all the strength and resilience — that being something that we have always shared and will continue to share.”

As for marathon itself, Long noted that “every available” Boston police officer will be working on Monday, either along the route or on their usual neighborhood patrols.

Similar to previous race years since the 2013 bombing, Long said plainclothes officers will be stationed along the marathon route, along with uniformed officers in yellow vests. There also will be security checkpoints from Kenmore Square to the finish line to search spectators’ bags. Attendees are encouraged to leave large bags at home.

Long urged spectators to report anything seemingly unordinary — “no matter how small” — by calling 911 or approaching a police officer along the route.

Drone use along the marathon route Monday is also prohibited.

With widespread street closures and parking restrictions in place around Back Bay in the days leading up to the marathon, officials encouraged individuals to take public transit if they plan on attending the race or the Red Sox home game Monday.

MBTA Transit Police Chief Kenneth Green worked to assuage any fear in the wake of the New York shooting and a recent fatal incident on the Red Line, stressing that the T is “absolutely” safe.

“The MBTA does millions of trips per day, you know, safely,” Green said.

With reporting from WBUR’s Steve Brown.

This article was originally published on WBUR.org.

Copyright 2022 WBUR. To see more, visit WBUR.

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