July 4 gatherings potential terror targets, federal authorities say

CARY, N.C. (WNCN) – Homeland Security and the FBI have issued a warning about potential terror attacks this Fourth of July.

Federal intelligence agencies have warned local law enforcement officials to be vigilant this holiday weekend.

Officials said the biggest targets are areas with large volumes of people and loose security.

Local officials in the Triangle are aware of the threat and changing security for this weekend.

Koka Booth Ampitheatre is expected to see about 5,000 people for its Independence Day celebration

The Regency Park area in general may see up to 40,000 people when it is time for fireworks.

And, according to the FBI, gatherings like this are perfect target for terrorists.

“Anytime you gather a large number of people together in this day and age, you have to be, have concerns and be aware,” said Lt. John Szymeczek with Cary police.

Szymeczek said every year, the department creates a headquarters for all agencies involved in the event.

Cary police also has officers patrolling the area.

But, when it comes to planning for a terror attack, he said this threat is just too vague.

“They’re so varied in what could occur and how may something be delivered, it would be really difficult to plan a contingency for that which is that unknown,” said Szymeczek.

Still, Cary police will be on the lookout for anything out of the ordinary.

“Any time you run an event year after year in the same venue and in the same place, your number one challenge is always complacency. It does help to the sense that it may move us out of that complacent state of mind to a little more vigilant, but there’s nothing specific that we’re doing,” Szymeczek said.

Police are asking the public to stay vigilant as well.

“If you see something that is out of place or definitively suspicious, whatever that may mean to that individual person, let us know,” said Szymeczek.

Raleigh said it can not share any details of their security plans.

Durham said it will have some extra officers on duty, but otherwise operations will be pretty much the same.

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