, Salem, MA

April 19, 2013

Police could ramp up security for Halloween


---- — SALEM — The horrific bombing at Monday’s Boston Marathon is not, for local officials, something that happened far away and far removed from a city that hosts a large Halloween celebration.

The same question ran through many minds: Could it happen here?

“As I watched (on TV), one of my first thoughts was the preparation that we do to make sure we’re addressing all of our concerns,” police Chief Paul Tucker said.

In recent years, Salem police have stepped up security measures, focusing more on a number of issues, including explosives. They have placed more emphasis on keeping cars away from crowds and checking trash receptacles and unattended packages or bags, the chief said.

“We’ve had so much more planning over the last 15 years,” Tucker said. “We try to make sure there’s nothing we’re missing. We’ve added whole layers of security to address just this issue.”

He declined to go into details, citing security concerns.

Tucker said that additional measures may be added as a result of his recent trip to Israel and the security measures he saw there.

In June, Salem police will conduct a Halloween drill in conjunction with the MBTA and commuter rail officials. “The whole exercise is based on a scenario with big crowds,” he said.

Tucker said it was “premature” to address any possible changes in security plans for Halloween.

“I’m not sure now is the time to be commenting,” he said.

Tom Dalton can be reached at