CHICAGO (CBS) — A Chicago man who just returned from London said he was surprised at how little visible police presence he noticed before Saturday’s terrorist attack on London Bridge, despite Britain still being at a “severe” threat level after the Manchester concert bombing last month.b
Seven people were killed and at least 48 were injured Saturday night when a white van plowed into a crowd on London Bridge, and then the suspects jumped out and tried to stab several people in nearby Borough Market. Three armed attackers were killed by police. At least 12 people later have been arrested.
Chicagoan Patrick DeHaan and his family were vacationing in London at the time, visiting traditional tourist spots. He snapped a photo from London Bridge only hours before the terrorist attack.
After arriving back home in Chicago on Sunday, DeHaan said one thing stood out to him in hindsight – the lack of visible law enforcement at tourist spots in London, including the site of the attack.
“That’s one of the first things I noticed in London was, as a Chicagoan, you’re used to seeing CPD all over the major tourist areas; and in looking at things, the first time I saw police officers was at London’s Cross, which is a major train station,” DeHaan said. “I really didn’t see them anywhere else. It was kind of a surprise, given that a few weeks ago … the United Kingdom raised the terror alert to the highest level.”
It’s possible police and other security were in place at the tourist spots DeHaan visited, but perhaps not in uniform or in plain sight.
Britain raised its terror threat level to “critical” – meaning an imminent attack is expected – shortly after a bombing outside a concert arena left 23 dead and 119 wounded on May 22, but the threat level was reduced to “severe” five days later.
Despite the London attack, DeHaan said he would not hesitate to go back to London; like many Londoners he refuses to live in fear.