Philadelphia Police Commissioner says awareness is key to safety

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Philadelphians consider walking on city's trails following NYC terror attack: Annie McCormick reports on Action News at 4 p.m., November 1, 2017 (WPVI)

Philadelphia is filled with soft targets that present constant challenges to law enforcement in the city.

The hard truth is, in events such as the one that unfolded in New York City Tuesday, there is only so much police can do. We have an important role to play in protecting ourselves.

Runners, walkers, and bikers in Philadelphia were talking about what if what happened in New York City happened here.

"It's a little scary because that's a peaceful time," said Hannah Goldner, of Bella Vista. "For that to be taken away from them... thoughts and prayers with their families as they deal with that."

Hundreds of miles of bike and running trails course through the city. Wednesday, during the announcement of the Schuylkill River Trail expansion Mayor Jim Kenney addressed vulnerabilities all cities face.

"You see it in New York, as good as They are, as expansive as police department is, and their information networks and their investigations things like this continue to happen," Kenney said. "We just have to keep on doing our best to cordon it off."

Tourist attractions can be considered soft targets among other locations in cities like Philadelphia.

On Wednesday, visitors from across the globe said living with terror attacks is the new normal.

"There was also an attack in Belgium, so you are never safe, but I think police are doing a good job," said Frederik Poels, of Belgium.

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Philadelphia Police Commissioner says awareness is key to safety: Annie McCormick reports on Action News at 11 p.m., October 31, 2017


Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross said he spoke with NYPD Tuesday.

"We don't waste a lot of time in this profession pushing intel to each other because if it happened there, it could happen somewhere else," said Ross.

Locally, Commissioner Ross had a meeting Tuesday with clergy, emphasizing the importance of the public's role following terror attacks.

"If you see some behavioral changes in people you know that don't just seem right, don't have a regret later because you didn't make that phone call," said Ross. "Let us worry about it, let us vet it."

All across the city, bike paths and running paths intersect with busy roads.

Kelly Drive, much like New York's West Side Highway, runs alongside the busy sidewalk where people exercise daily.

Along Kelly Drive Tuesday night, the deadly afternoon in New York remained at the top of people's minds.

"Today I'm just running back and forth between the Art Museum and there. Usually, I'll go down Kelly a little more, but just staying in this general area," said Danielle Froschhauser of Fairmount. "I'm just always really nervous about what's going on in the world."

However, other fitness enthusiasts said they don't alter their plans as things such as these can happen anywhere.

"You can't calculate that stuff, it just comes," said Philip Maniscola of South Philadelphia.

Ross said big events have physical barriers and other obvious security measures, but that isn't feasible for daily city living.

"At some point, it's about awareness," he said.

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