Chicago remains on high alert in the wake of the Brussels attacks earlier this week.
The series of explosions Tuesday morning at Brussels Airport in Belgium and a nearby train station left 31 people dead and hundreds injured.
Although there’s no indication that Chicago is a target for an attack, Chicago Police increased security at O’Hare and Midway airports and CTA bus and train stations.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel says an increased security presence is a safeguard to protect the city’s critical infrastructure.
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Robert Pape, founding director of the University of Chicago’s Project on Security and Terrorism, agrees with Mayor Emanuel, adding that increased monitoring of public transportation sites, while an inconvenience for some people, works.
“Every little bit of hassle helps,” Pape said. “Because these coordinated and sophisticated attacks can be disrupted or delayed, and even a little dispruption can save a lot of lives.”
Pape adds that ISIS is opting away from attacks on symbolic locations where casualties are low in numbers and choosing more sophisticated targets where higher numbers of people congregate, similar to the sites chosen in Paris and Brussels.
“I think this is an effort by ISIS, they’re picking soft targets to kill the maximum number of people in the countries that are part of the Western intervention against them,” Pape said.
Heightened security measures around Chicago were visible in the days following the attacks in Brussels, including an increased number of armed police officers, SWAT teams, and bomb-sniffing dogs at both of Chicago’s airports and Union Station. Mayor Rahm Emanuel said there’s constant risk of attacks in Chicago and cities across America.
A spokesman from the Cook County Department of Homeland Security said there’s currently no credible threat to Chicago and heightened security is a precautionary measure.