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Emergency Preparedness for Transit Terrorism

NCJ Number
TR News Volume: 208 Dated: May/June 2000 Pages: 12-17,41
Annabelle Boyd; John P. Sullivan
Date Published
7 pages
This article discusses the emerging threat of transit terrorism.
Terrorism is becoming increasingly lethal as a wide variety of groups seeking to influence political and social discourse embrace escalating levels of violence. In public transportation, the changed terrorist threat is best observed through four trends. The first trend is that, while there are fewer individual acts of terrorism, those that occur are producing growing numbers of casualties. The second trend is that there is an increasing attractiveness of transit as a target and a growing number of incidents committed against rail and bus systems. The third trend is that a growing number of terrorist groups appear to no longer be constrained by traditional state sponsors resulting in no concern for public support and eroding restraint. The fourth trend is weapons of mass destruction (WMD) appear to be now within grasp of those willing to use them. While United States transit systems have so far not been the focus of political terrorism, they have been the targets of terrorist acts. As a result, transit personnel have initiated system security programs to protect passengers, employees, and facilities from the most devastating consequences of a terrorist act. These programs focus on improved linkages to local, State and Federal law enforcement agencies; heightened awareness training; and the integration of terrorist response and consequence management skills into system emergency procedures. Through these programs transit agencies can increase the possibility of preventing and deterring terrorist incidents; improve the effectiveness of the response should an incident occur; and maximize opportunities to organize and cooperate with local, State and Federal agencies in combating terrorism. 1 figure, 1 table, 3 references