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Reporter Jennifer Bjorklund; Video Kristopher Li ; Web Traciann McKenzie
Although the Department of Homeland Security has not raised the official terror alert level, Los Angeles law enforcement is not taking any chances. Security has been pumped up at LAX, the Staples Center and other places of interest across Los Angeles following the death of Osama Bin Laden. Officials fear there may be retaliation for the Al Qaeda Leaders killing.
Government officials and local leaders are stressing vigilance as security ramps up following the announcement that U.S. forces had killed al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden in Pakistan.
Law enforcement officials including Sherriff Lee Baca and Chief Charlie Beck as well as state and federal authorities held a joint news conference to emphasize that the public needs to report suspicious activity.
"The safety of Los Angeles is my job. But it's everybody's responsibility," Beck said. "It is now more important than ever that all our community be vigilant against things that don't fit. Against people who commit activities that do not fit in your neighborhoods, that don't fit in your businesses."
Beck and others said residents know their neighborhood best. They encouraged the public that "If you see something, say something" to law enforcement by calling 1-877-A THREAT or visiting LAPD's iWatch website.
Security will be improved at venues around Los Angeles including the Staples Center during the Lakers playoff games as well as Dodger stadium, Beck said.
Major airports around Southern California including LAX, Ontario International, and Van Nuys airport are on heightened alert, according to a spokesperson for LA World Airports. Officials declined to give specific details about the boosted security but travelers were encouraged to allow extra time to get to their flights.
Additional security was also added to Metro transit stations and subways, according to Metro Spokesman Marc Littman. More officers, squad cars, and bomb-sniffing dogs were visible at many locations.
Metro encouraged riders to keep an eye out for suspicious packages or activities.
Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa also urged vigilance.
"This announcement tonight by President Obama that Osama bin Laden has been killed is indeed historic, but we must continue to be vigilant and remain on guard against those that still seek to harm us," Villaraigosa said in a statement.
Also cautioning prudence was Rep. Judy Chu, D-El Monte.
"...I urge Americans both here and abroad to remain vigilant," she said in a statement. "We must be prepared to repel and disrupt any retaliatory attacks that may result from this historic event."
Local Congress member, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Huntington Beach, praised U.S. Special forces and the intelligence community but warned, "This doesn't mean the War on Terror is over. What it does mean is that no one can kill scores of Americans and think they can get away with it."