LAPD on alert in wake of NYC bomb scare

LOS ANGELES The /*Los Angeles Police Department*/ is always on the alert for an incident like the one in /*Times Square*/ Sunday night. But they need the public's help as well.

The LAPD knows that it alone cannot keep the city safe. Officers can train for potential attacks, but they need the public's help spotting any trouble.

The LAPD was on heightened alert outside Staples Center as fans poured into the Lakers playoff game Sunday. It wasn't just the officers who were on the lookout for anything unusual.

"I'm definitely a little bit more cautious, check my surroundings every time I come out to these things, look out for things that are out of the ordinary," said one Laker fan, Sal Zonni.

"I would hope that everyone would kind of look out for each other's back," said Woodland Hills resident Bridget Beumer. "And I would hope that I'd be alert enough to catch it."

It was a street vendor's keen eye that helped save thousands from a potential disaster in New York City's Times Square Saturday night. The LAPD says it knows the community's involvement is a big key to keeping the city safe.

The LAPD launched its /*iWatch*/ program to encourage the public to report anything suspicious.

"We should always be at that heightened level of awareness," said LAPD Captain Horace Frank. "That is something we ask the community to do. So we as a department, we need to get that heightened level of awareness at all times."

The LAPD says it routinely trains for a scenario like what unfolded in Times Square, well aware that it could happen in Los Angeles.

The department says it uses a "trifecta" approach: well-trained officers; one of the nation's largest bomb detection units; and the public's eyes and ears.

"I think we are more cautious now. I think we do pay more attention to things that maybe we just looked over before because those things are happening," said L.A. resident Jennie Zarraonandia. "You have to be aware."

The LAPD said there was no reason to believe a bomb threat is imminent in L.A. The department remains on its standard state of vigilance.

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