• Law Enforcement Officials in Southern California on High Alert


    LOS ANGELES (CNS) – Southland law enforcement officials will be on heightened alert this weekend when thousands of people descend on a series of outdoor events.

    The Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach will feature events through Sunday, including a celebrity race today. The Los Angeles Times Festival of Books takes place today and Sunday on the USC campus, and traditionally draws six-figure crowds over the two-day run.

    An estimated 40,000 people are expected to attend a walk for autism outside the Rose Bowl in Pasadena today. Meanwhile, thousands of bicyclists, pedestrians, skateboarders and roller skaters were expected to take part in Sunday’s CicLAvia, which offers a car-free route along city streets from downtown Los Angeles to Venice.

    Although some people may be on edge due to the Boston Marathon explosions and subsequent suspect manhunt, which resulted in five deaths and scores of injuries, officials said Southland residents should feel free to take part in the various events.

    “We are encouraging everyone to go about their business as usual,” Los Angeles police Officer Sally Madera said.

    Authorities said they have received no credible information of any threat to local events, however, extra law enforcement personnel — including undercover officers — were being deployed as a precaution in areas where large crowds were expected to gather.

    “We will take all appropriate precautions for the safety and security for everyone involved,” Long Beach police Chief Jim McDonnell told the Long Beach Press-Telegram.

    Long Beach officials said spectators at the Grand Prix can expect to see plenty of uniformed officers, and plenty of non-uniformed officers will be in the crowd.

    Similar efforts are expected at the various other events around the area.

    With many people likely to rely on public transportation, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department plans to beef up security efforts, particularly on buses and trains, spokesman Steve Whitmore said.

    Law enforcement authorities also encouraged all residents to adhere to the mantra of “If you see something, say something,” meaning people should report any type of activity they consider suspicious.

    The LAPD urged people to take advantage of the iWatch website, which is designed to gather tips from the public regarding suspicious activities. People going to the site — www.lapdonline.org/iwatchla — can remain anonymous if they desire.

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