Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Billie's evaluation of security in her area

Community member Billie's addressing a July 8th article from the New York Times by Eric Lipton's entitled "Security on U.S. Transit Systems Is Stepped Up:"

Concerned about a "copycat attack," federal officials elevated the alert for the nation's rail, subway and bus systems on Thursday, prompting more police patrols, searches by bomb-sniffing dogs and inspections of packages across the country.
While Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff acknowledged that there was no specific evidence of a threat against the United States, he said the bombings in London necessitated tighter security here.
[. . .]
In cities like New York, Chicago, Miami and Los Angeles, the elevated alert translated immediately into additional security measures.


*In DFW, not much changed.

*Friday, July 1st, our train system had delays of up two hours due to someone pulling wires and reportedly the vandal could have been electrocuted in the process.

*Tuesday, July 5th the train system had additional problems causing people who rode it at my work to arrive up to a 1/2 hour late. Over the Trinity, pretty much dry creek though it's a river, they had only one lane working due to what has been reported as a problem with the switches.

*With the above having recently happened, I was curious as to what the response locally would be to the attacks in London.

*No response has been the response.

*I've ridden the trains daily, Monday through Friday, each morning and evening to research this.

*I've complained about the lack of care.

*Wednesday morning, for the first time, train conducter's stated over the p.a. system that passengers should notifity the drivers immediately if they noticed packages left on board.

*In addition, a co-worker stated that on her train a p.a. announcement was made to be on the lookout for suspicious characters.

*That appears to be the extent of beefed up measures and it is inadequate.

*At each station, there is a security officer. That was true beforehand. This has not been beefed up although regular riders of the rail tell me that the security officers are no longer sitting in their idiling vehicles but actually outside the cars walking around the stations.

*Part of the delay was my frustration that so little appears to have been done.

*I wanted to research this and offer concrete observations of what I saw.

*I also wondered if by noting the problem I would be making it worse.

*I've concluded that the response has been so poor and inadequate that it is better to say something than to leave it unstated.

*For clarity, I will note that except for Friday evening, I confined my trips to the Fort Worth leg of the trips. Since the rail services greater Dallas, Fort Worth and surrounding areas, I doubt that there is a great difference in one area's response. But it is possible that in the city of Dallas, for instance, they have stepped up security measures in a noticeable manner. This was not the case on my sole trip (Friday evening) into Dallas on the rail.

*I cannot give a number as to how many people were riding on each trip I took because a) people get on and off at various stations and b) though each train is several cars, you cannot do a walk through without physically leaving one section and boarding another.

*Regular riders told me that they were used to security walking through to check that people had passes. This did not happen on any of my trips.

*My trips were Friday morning, Friday evening, Monday morning, Monday evening, Tuesday morning and Tuesday evening. Only on my Friday evening did I venture out of Fort Worth. I took the train into downtown Dallas and then back to Fort Worth. I saw nothing on the one round trip to suggest that there was a great deal of difference between the city of Dallas's response and the city of Fort Worth's response.

*It is certainly possible that there were plain clothes security riding along with me on each trip and the point was for then to not be noticed. If that is the case, my own belief is that a beefed up, visible securtiy presence would be more beneficial at this time.

Note: "DFW" stands for Dallas-Fort Worth.

The e-mail address for this site is If other members have concerns as to how the issue is being addressed in their areas, feel free to e-mail and note that you're intending for it to be shared. You can utilize Billie's bullet style or compose your comments however you like. And since we have a number of members in Billie's area, if another member wants to weigh in, feel free. (Either to back up Billie's report or to offer something you noticed that she didn't.)