Just weeks after federal officials announced they were relaxing some of the airport security measures implemented in the wake of the 9/11 terror attacks, the Boston Marathon bombings that injured more than 170 and killed three people reignited public safety fears nationwide.
"The public demands a level of safety that is responsive to the types of events that occurred," says David Schanzer, director of the Triangle Center on Terrorism and Homeland Security at Duke University. "Clearly our next marathon, whether it be in Boston or New York, we're going to see a lot more packages being checked, more dog sniffs, but I certainly think we should continue to go forward with these events."
Open air events, like a marathon, pose security difficulties, but more can still be done, Schanzer adds.
"We've had heightened security at sporting events since 9/11, [but] this was an attack on a very soft target," he says. "Most entities that do this are mostly private groups, for example a NASCAR race or a football game – people who are running those events are going to want people to come and participate and if there's not enough security to make the public feel secure, then their events aren't going to be successful."
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said Tuesday there was no indication the Boston bombings were part of a "broader plot," but she nonetheless pledged stepped up security in their wake.
"Out of an abundance of caution, DHS continues to keep in place enhanced security measures at transportation hubs, utilizing measures both seen and unseen," she said in a press release. "We continue to urge the American public to remain vigilant and immediately report any signs of suspicious activity to local law enforcement officials."
President Barack Obama, in a news briefing Wednesday, admitted law enforcement officials were still searching for answers.
"This was a heinous and cowardly act and given what we now know what took place, the FBI is investigating as an act of terrorism," he said. "What we don't yet know, however, is who carried out this attack or why, whether it was planned and executed by a terrorist organization, foreign or domestic, or was the act of a malevolent individual."
Law enforcement officials in London, the site of the next major marathon, are reviewing their security procedures following Monday's events.