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Some streets in downtown L.A. closed as suspicious bag examined

April 24, 2013|By Richard Winton
  • Approximate location of package shown in black.
Approximate location of package shown in black. (Los Angeles Times Mapping…)

A bag left near a bus-stop bench in downtown Los Angeles on Wednesday led to the closure of some city streets surrounding the suspicious package.

L.A. police were seeking to determine whether the bag posed any harm. Police said it was spotted near 2nd and Hill streets during the Wednesday morning commute, marking the latest in a string of reports of suspicious items and threats across Southern California since the Boston Marathon was bombed last week.

The Boston Marathon bombings have left local police stretched thin as they are forced to deal with troubling consequences: a surge in bomb squad calls from people who think they’ve spotted an explosive and an uptick in fake threats from opportunists seeking attention during a time of fear and frayed nerves.

“We’re getting three- or four-fold the number of bomb squad calls we usually do,” said Jim Amormino, spokesman for the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, an increase also reported by the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.

Officials at the Los Angeles Police Department said that since Boston’s deadly April 15 attack, their bomb squad has been getting five to seven calls a day, a significant increase considering it’s not uncommon for weeks to go by without a single call.

As happened in the weeks after 9/11, Boston’s carnage appears to have spurred, at least temporarily, a public shift.

“Any time someone leaves a bag alone for a few minutes it draws people’s attention now,” said Amormino, who noted that bomb squads are erring on the side of caution, rolling to the scene of every call.

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Twitter: @lacrimes| Google+

richard.winton@latimes.com

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