LA
05/02/2011 05:44 pm ET | Updated Jul 02, 2011

Osama Bin Laden Dead: Southern California Steps Up Security

In a press conference this morning, LA County Sheriff Lee Baca urged the public to play its part in keeping Los Angeles safe. He called attention to the LAPD's already established "iWatch" program and echoed the Department of Homeland Security's national "If You See Something, Say Something" campaign to encourage people to report suspicious behaviors or objects.

There's already been one security scare in the Southland since the news of Bin Laden's death. AP reports that passengers at a Riverside metro were evacuated this morning after an abandoned backpack was discovered in a metrolink restroom. The backpack was determined to be safe, and passengers resumed their morning commute.

The LAPD is enhancing security measures at airports, public transit, places of worship, and large public gathering spaces. Los Angeles World Airports (which includes Los Angeles International, Ontario International and Van Nuys airports), are on heightened alert, according to KTLA. The LAX police chief also released an official statement saying that, "While we don’t have any direct threat as a result of recent events, we will continue to provide infrastructure protection and high visibility law enforcement and security protection to the many passengers who travel through the airport every day."

According to the LA Times, LAPD Chief Charlie Beck plans to add more police patrols at the Staples Center during the Lakers playoffs. LAPD Deputy Chief Mike Downing of the Counter-Terrorism and Special Operations Bureau is also stepping up security at mosques and synagogues to protect them from possible hate crimes: "We are somewhat concerned about any retaliation because of [Bin Laden's] death... But with our partnerships and relationships that we've built over the last four or five years, we will stand with these communities to resist any attacks or hate incidents."