ENGLEWOOD CLIFFS, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — With the death of Osama bin Laden the question on every American’s mind now is are we safer?
With heightened security on the streets, a visible police presence, detection dogs walking the beat, New York City is on alert for a possible post-bin Laden retaliatory attack.
“I’m pretty scared about it. I think it’s a fairly high possibility, yes,” Jill Fickling of Roosevelt Island told CBS 2’s Derricke Dennis.
“I believe that we’re safer today than we’ve been in a long time,” added Scott Turner of Greenwich, Conn.
“I think we need to be on alert on an everyday basis. I don’t think today is any different than yesterday,” said Arti Desai of Clifton, N.J.
The biggest concern, according to New York security expert Bob Strang, are so-called “lone wolfs,” terrorists unaffiliated with any groups but sympathetic to the cause.
He said they’re unsuspecting individuals who can blend in, and strike in the name of bin Laden.
“And the problem is we don’t know who these people are. We don’t know where they are, and we don’t know when they’re gonna strike us,” Strang said.
He pointed out a place like Grand Central Terminal, one of several possible targets under the watchful eye of the NYPD. Other targets include the tunnels underwater, the bridges spanning across and the train system underground. Also, there are symbols like the Statue of Liberty, or even our water supply.
“I mean there are 50 things, right within a few miles of New York City, that are potential targets for terrorists,” Strang said.
Or, as was the case one year ago with suspected terrorist Faisal Shahzad parking his bomb-laden SUV in Times Square, the target could simply be generic.
NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly said that’s why he’s beefing up security.
“Certainly, the Times Square area, the financial area, lower Manhattan, so there will be more activity, including things the public doesn’t see,” Kelly said.
But in the end, Strang said the best protection is the public on alert.
“If they’re on the train, if they’re in Penn Station or Grand Central, and they see something, they’ve gotta tell somebody,” Strang said.
How can law enforcement stop these terrorists who act on their own? Please offer your thoughts in the comments section below.