LOS ANGELES (CBS) — City officials marked the ninth anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on New York City and Washington, D.C. on Saturday, urging citizens to stay vigilant in the face of what security experts say is an ongoing threat against Los Angeles.

“The attacks of September 11, 2001, still reverberate today, even
across the country here in Los Angeles,” City Council President Eric Garcetti
said. “We can never be too prepared, but since then, coordination among local,
state and federal agencies has improved; new technologies have been deployed in
our city; and specialized units stand ready to respond to scenarios that were
once unthinkable.”

According to Los Angeles police, the department will have normal patrols
this weekend — at least as normal as things can be.

“I won’t say it’s routine, because nothing is routine,” said Capt.
Mike Downing of the LAPD Counter-Terrorism and Criminal Intelligence Bureau.
“We’re digging in and are as engaged as we’ve ever been and as we will
continue to be.”

Downing said the department has not received any information indicating
the threat level will be higher this weekend than it has been any other
weekend. But he stressed the importance of continued outreach in the community
to encourage vigilance.

“I just spoke before more than 12,000 Muslim community members in
Anaheim,” Downing said. “There will be a lot of events this weekend, and we
will be there.”

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Los Angeles Airport Police Chief George Centeno said today is clearly
“a day of national significance”.

“Airport police will enhance our deployment accordingly through high
visibility patrol, directed patrol and use of additional plain-clothes
officers,” he said. “Details of such operational deployments, however, will
not be made public.”

On Tuesday night, a hoax at LAX set off a flurry of activity. Someone
aboard a Thai Airways flight wrote a bomb threat on a lavatory mirror,
prompting airport officials to direct the just-landed airliner to a remote
section of tarmac, where about 200 passengers were evacuated.

Some additional concerns have been expressed about security this year
given the threat by a Florida preacher to burn copies of the Quran.

“I think he’s a wacko, No. 1,” City Councilman Dennis Zine said. “Anyone who preaches God and the Bible and doing good for human beings, and then to advocate what he’s advocating … I think the man’s crazy for what he’s doing.”

Zine said Angelenos should be vigilant to help law enforcement in the
fight against terrorism.

“Terrorism — we know now — is an ever-present danger,” Zine said.

“We’ve become more aware. We’ve become better prepared with emergency
operations. I’d say we’re safer. The security measures are inconvenient for a
lot of people but the fact is we’re much safer. We need to be vigilant every
single day because terrorists strike when you’re not prepared. I don’t think
terrorism is going to go away. It’s a sad commentary that people want to
destroy our way of life.”

(©2010 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)


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