The Security Measures That Are Helping Make the Boston Marathon Safe

After the tragic events of last year's Boston Marathon, the question on many people's minds is "How can you keep the public safe on 26.2 miles of open road?" While not an easy task, the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) has worked diligently alongside local, regional, state, and federal agencies to ensure that the one million spectators and 36,000 runners expected at Monday's event remain safe and secure.

Getty | Jared Wickerham

To no surprise, the comprehensive plan includes beefing up the number of eyes on the road. This will come in the form of more police officers, SWAT units, bomb squads, and K-9 patrols than seen in previous years. Added to this are 100 additional security cameras, Air Wing troopers operating at least four helicopters during the race, and 8,000 steel barricades erected along the racecourse. In a press release from MEMA, all of these added measures will "ensure the safety and security of the runners and spectators while maintaining a traditionally festive, family-oriented event."

Though many of the heightened security tactics will go unnoticed by those in attendance, there will be some noticeably marked changes. Besides the sheer amount of officers on the ground — double the number from last year — attendees may be subject to random security searches or asked to pass through inspection checkpoints. Officials are also asking anyone who is planning to watch the race to leave large bags and backpacks at home. They are instead encouraging spectators to store belongings in clear bags.

Runners will also be feeling the effects of added security measures. The most prominent change from last year is that runners will not be allowed to bring bags with them to the start line. In previous races, participants could carry bags with them to the start that would later be transported to the finish line for pickup. If runners would like to check in any belongings before the start of the race, they must do so on the Boston Common (closer to the finish line) the morning of the marathon before heading to the start in Hopkinton, MA. In addition, all belongings must be checked in a clear plastic bag.