April 17, 2013

Bombing Prompts Heightened Communiversity Security

The horrific bombings at the Boston Marathon Monday have caused area officials to make plans to beef up security for Communiversity, the festival of town and gown scheduled to take place in downtown Princeton on Sunday, April 28. While no metal detectors or bag searches are planned, there will be an increased presence of law enforcement personnel at the annual celebration.

“I wouldn’t characterize it as concern, but we’re taking prudent measures to ensure safety, as we do every year,” said Princeton Police Captain Nick Sutter. “We’ll be getting more ‘down in the weeds,’ if you will, just to limit the amount of possible threats that could be out there. There will be extensive foot patrols in the area. We’ve dedicated some extra foot patrols in the crowds; things like that.”

Communiversity is a collaborative effort of Princeton University and the Arts Council of Princeton. It takes place on Nassau and Witherspoon Streets, on the green in Palmer Square, and throughout the University campus. Artists, crafters, merchants from the tri-state area, live entertainment, children’s activities, food, and representatives from many area businesses make up the celebration.

“The first thing we did this morning was have a meeting with our event coordinator and staff to discuss this very thing,” said Jeff Nathanson, the Arts Council’s executive director, when asked yesterday if he had security concerns. ”What happened in Boston is just horrible. We’re concerned about having such a large event, so we have contacted Bob Bruschi [Princeton administrator] and the police department, and they are meeting about it. There will be increased security and security protocols put into place for this year’s event. We don’t know the details yet, but it’s in the works. They’re working on it and we look forward to hearing back from the town and police.”

On Monday evening, Princeton University sent an email to students through its email notification system stating that all students, faculty, staff, and alumni who were known to have been in Boston for the marathon were safe. University spokesman Martin Mbugua said in an email to Town Topics on Tuesday, “The University is monitoring the situation and developmentsКrelated toКthe tragic events in Boston. The Department of Public Safety, which works closely with local police and other lawКenforcementКagencies, will continue to assess safety needs on campus, as it usually does, and take measures as needed.”

The bombings in Boston took place at approximately 2:50 p.m., more than four hours into the race. Two bombs exploded near the finish line, killing three people and injuring more than 130, several of whom lost limbs. As of Tuesday afternoon, no individual or group had claimed responsibility for the bombings