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Expert: Security Checkpoints Near Soft Targets May Soon Become The Norm

A Day May Come When You'll Be Patted Down Going Into Stores
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Penn Station

Security experts believe transit hubs, like NYC’s Penn Station, are among “soft” targets terrorist may choose to attack in the wake of the killing of Osama bin Laden. (Photo: CBS 2)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Counter terrorism experts say a retaliation attack for Osama bin Laden’s death is inevitable. Terrorists are expected to aim for more vulnerable soft targets like shopping malls or museums.

They are places jam-packed with people — pedestrian malls, shopping centers and stadiums.

“Yeah, I feel safe. But of course in the back of my head I know that things can happen,” one person told CBS 2’s Hazel Sanchez.

Counter terrorism expert Juval Aviv said terrorists seeking revenge for Osama bin Laden’s death will turn to attacks less dramatic than the destruction on Sept. 11 — focusing instead on soft targets like hotels, places of worship and mass transit hubs.

“It’s easier and less complicated to carry out,” Aviv said. “What they’re going to achieve if they’re successful is to kill as many people as possible.”

Security consultant David Boehm said the future could include security check points entering all soft targets — like your local department store. Boehm said even with a police presence, the areas are vulnerable.

“The reason they’re called ‘soft’ is because it’s so easily accessible to anyone. There has to be security checks for the safety of all people,” Broehm said.

Added security is a turn-off for some New Yorkers.

“There’s a police presence and they search someone with a backpack. Somebody that looks suspicious, but it’s random. I would go if that if that is the case; not if everybody is being searched,” one New Yorker said.

“It’s better to be safe than to be sorry,” another person said.

Despite the challenges to secure high-volume soft targets like Times Square, security experts said one of the best lines of defense is already in place and doesn’t cost a thing.

“We are millions and millions of eyes and ears. We need to assist the police. We need to assist each other and keep each other safe,” Boehm said.

It’s freedom, coming with an increasingly heavy price.

Would you be okay with security checkpoints outside department stores or places of worship? Please offer your thoughts in the comments section below.


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