DC’s security leader on what the NYC explosion means for the District

WASHINGTON — Public safety and security leaders in D.C. have been carefully monitoring developments in New York following a pipe bomb explosion in a subway corridor near Times Square Monday that appears to have been an attempted terrorist attack.

“Only a few minutes after the event happened and then throughout the day, we’ve been briefing the mayor on what we know about what happened in New York, and we’ve been getting information in real time,” Chris Rodriguez, director of the District’s Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency told WTOP.

Rodriguez said there are no current threats to the District, but even before the blast in New York, Washington was in a heightened state of security due to with the holiday season.

He wants to remind people who live and work in the nation’s capital that their ability to spot something suspicious, and report it to police, is crucial to keeping the city safe.

“Across the country and across the world, what we’re seeing is a lot of these lone-wolf or homegrown bomb and extremist attacks, and so in that situation the public is the first line of defense,” said Rodriguez.

He said “See Something, Say Something,” the mantra you’ve heard for years, remains vitally important.

Rodriguez said some of the situations to look for and report to police include:

  • A vehicle parked in an odd location;
  • Unattended package or luggage;
  • A person asking questions that appear to go beyond curiosity about a building or security procedures and personnel;
  • Someone who pays unusual attention to facilities or buildings by taking pictures or loitering without explanation.

Rodriguez, who was confirmed as the agency’s new director just last week, has launched the HSEMA Public Safety Bulletin.

New bulletins are released as needed to keep residents informed about potential security threats, as well as what they can do to help keep themselves and others safe.

Michelle Basch

Michelle Basch is a reporter turned morning anchor at WTOP News.

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