Boston Marathon

After NYC subway shooting, no credible security threats ahead of Boston Marathon, authorities say

"We are well prepared to respond to any situation."

At Boston Marathon Fan Fest stage in Copley Square Park, members of the Boston Athletic Association held a public safety press conference ahead of the 126th Annual Boston Marathon on Monday. David L Ryan/Globe Staff
Marathon Weekend

Authorities across multiple local, state, and federal public safety agencies said Thursday there were no credible security threats involving the Boston Marathon or the MBTA ahead of this weekend’s race festivities.

The words of reassurance came two days after a 62-year-old man allegedly opened fire on a subway in Brooklyn, New York and shot at least 10 people. Police arrested Frank James on Wednesday on a federal charge of committing a terrorist act on a mass transit system.

As the Boston Marathon is expected to bring some 30,000 people to Boston this weekend, authorities in Massachusetts have repeatedly said they have detected no credible threats targeting the event or the city’s own transit system.

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“We know that Tuesday’s shooting in New York City’s subway has caused understandable concerns of the residents of this Commonwealth, but I can assure you that the state police and our law enforcement partners remain vigilant, and we are well prepared to respond to any situation,” State Police Deputy Superintendent Lieutenant Scott Warmington said at a marathon health and security press conference held in Copley Square. “Furthermore, our marathon security operation is dynamic and scalable and can be quickly adapted as necessary.”

Friday, commemorated as “One Boston Day,” marks the ninth anniversary of the 2013 terrorist attack at the marathon’s finish line in Back Bay, where brothers Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and Tamerlan Tsarnaev detonated homemade bombs, killing three people and injuring hundreds of others.

Days later, MIT Police officer Sean Collier was killed by the brothers. Boston police Sgt. Dennis “DJ” Simmons, who was injured while responding to a firefight with the bombers in Watertown, succumbed to his injuries in 2014.

MBTA Transit Police Chief Kenneth Green said the marathon, every year, is “all hands on deck” for his department.

“The transit police are well prepared for this year’s event as we are for every event … We will have additional transit police officers throughout the system, both in uniform and in plain clothes for the safety and well being of our riding public,” Green said.

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Authorities urged race-goers to be vigilant and report any suspicious activity to police.

“I can’t stress enough that this is not the time for complacency, especially now that everyone is resuming attendance at large venues and public gatherings,” said FBI Boston Division Special Agent in Charge Joseph Bonavolonta.

Bonavolonta stressed there are no threats authorities are aware of, but he added, “that can change in a heartbeat.”

He went on to broadly outline national terrorism trends that have concerned law enforcement in recent years, particularly the rise of homegrown and domestic terrorism carried out by single actors.

The greatest threat generally concerning authorities are “lone actors who (are) radicalized online and attack soft targets with easily accessible weapons, often with little to no warning,” he added. Another concern is “homegrown violent extremists” inspired by foreign terrorist groups, Bonavolonta said.

In recent years, federal agencies have funneled resources toward combatting “domestic violent extremists whose personal grievances from racial or ethnic bias to anti-authority or anti-government sentiment has posed a significant problem,” Bonavolonta said.

“We are seeing an overlap between domestic terrorism and hate crimes, where people are committing hate crimes to promote extremist beliefs,” he said. “The bottom line is the threats we are facing from domestic and national actors are elevated at this point in time.”

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Bonavolonta urged the public to remember the now-common expression, “If you see something, say something” and offered a slight tweak: “If you see something about someone, say something.”

“Tips from the community are essential because if we look at acts of mass violence, there’s almost always somebody who saw the person change: a parent, a classmate, or a friend,” he said. “When people speak up, history has shown that we can prevent tragedies from occurring.”

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