A near-miss at the New York Port Authority is drawing attention to the vulnerability of the New York City subway system to terrorist attacks. In the December 11th, 2017 incident, a 27-year-old man attempted to use a homemade pipe bomb, but faulty construction limited the scope of the devastation.
As the investigation unfolded, subway traffic was being rerouted to allow authorities to develop a better understanding of what might have happened if the suspect had executed the attack with more precision. One thing is clear, hundreds if not thousands of people could have been injured or killed at the bus terminal, and there were little authorities were doing that might have stopped him.
Subway security is a difficult task, as the number of commuters dwarfs the number of security personnel, and large scale searches such as those utilized at airports would be untenable for those trying to rapidly traverse the city. But even without pat-downs or searches, there are things the city can do to lower the risk of danger.
Cameras may be an option, along with personnel trained to recognize erratic behavior in a potential suspect. Intervening quickly when a person is behaving in ways that indicate an attack might be imminent would be of pivotal importance. Interdicting the suspect, even just to ask a few questions, could make a huge difference.
Subway accidents and explosions occur for various reasons. Failure to maintain the trains and the tracks, failure to account for changes in conditions such as extreme temperatures or moisture, or even driver error can also put people at risk. If you have been the victim of a subway accident, please consult with an experienced attorney regarding your legal options going forward.