Bin Laden's Death Causes Spike in Suspicious Package Reports
It’s not that the risk is greater, it’s that the fear is greater. Data from New York:
There were 10,566 reports of suspicious objects across the five boroughs in 2010. So far this year, the total was 2,775 as of Tuesday compared with 2,477 through the same period last year.
The daily totals typically spike when terrorist plot makes headlines here or overseas, NYPD spokesman Paul Browne said Tuesday. The false alarms themselves sometimes get break-in cable news coverage or feed chatter online, fueling further fright.
On Monday, with news of the dramatic military raid of bin Laden’s Pakistani lair at full throttle, there were 62 reports of suspicious packages. The previous Monday, the 24-hour total was 18. All were deemed non-threats.
Despite all the false alarms, the New York Police Department still wants to hear them:
“We anticipate that with increased public vigilance comes an increase in false alarms for suspicious packages,” Kelly said at the Monday news conference. “This typically happens at times of heightened awareness. But we don’t want to discourage the public. If you see something, say something.”
That slogan, oddly enough, is owned by New York’s transit authority.
I have a different opinion: “If you ask amateurs to act as front-line security personnel, you shouldn’t be surprised when you get amateur security.”
People have always come forward to tell the police when they see something genuinely suspicious, and should continue to do so. But encouraging people to raise an alarm every time they’re spooked only squanders our security resources and makes no one safer.
“Refuse to be terrorized,” people.