Uncertainty for New Brunswick Commuters after attacks – Jennifer Marin
Police activity has increased following recent bomb related incidents in New Jersey and New York- Picture taken Jennifer Marin.
New Brunswick, NJ – The idea of a bomb going off at or near a train station is no longer a menacing thought but a reality for many New Jersey Transit rail commuters. Following recent attacks; New Brunswick commuters are amongst those who live in fear that their train station might be next.
Alyssa Mastellone, a New Brunswick commuter who depends on the NJ Transit Northeast Corridor rail line to travel into New York City said she was lucky to have avoided a tragedy.
“Elizabeth is a stop along my daily commute to New York City’s Penn Station, I can’t imagine what would’ve happened if the bomb went off as my train made its routine stop,” she said.
Mastellone’s fear comes just after a weekend filled with a series of bomb related incidents, including five explosives that were found inside a backpack near the NJ Transit Elizabeth train station on the morning of Sept. 19. One of those explosives detonated as a robot tried to disarm it.
Mayor J. Christian Bollwage of Elizabeth told the New York Times on Monday, “I am extremely concerned for not only Elizabeth but also everyone in the state and country. I could imagine if all five bombs went off at the same time, the loss of life could have been tremendous.”
Bollwage isn’t the only city official who is expressing his concern for the safety of his people; the New Brunswick Police Department is taking every step in ensuring safety for their own.
According to Captain J.T. Miller of the New Brunswick Police Department, the city’s officials are doing more to protect New Brunswick commuters, “ We have increased our patrol presence in the area of the train stations. We are continuing to work closely with our law enforcement partners and surrounding agencies to keep our City safe.”
Sofia Angelica Nitkin, a freshman commuter in the School of Arts and Sciences at Rutgers University, is an actress who relies on New Jersey Transit to attend daily auditions in Manhattan.
Although Nitkin has noticed the increased presence of the NBPD, she says that prior to these attacks, security was scarce.
“I didn’t really see anyone. When I walk underneath the bridge of the station it can be dark and scary but there’s never even a security guard just in case something goes wrong,” she said.
Andrew Mendes a New Brunswick resident, who commutes everyday to Newark for work, says the police presence is comforting but that regardless, he is truly not afraid.
“Today I’m on my way to a wedding in NYC, I see the increased security but even so, we can’t control what’s going to happen next, we just have to keep living,” he said
Although most commuters seemed grateful for the recent increase in security at the station, others, like Nitkin, hope these recent trends of terrorism will serve as a platform for implementing a permanent change in the New Brunswick station.
“I’d really appreciate someone with authority there all the time, making sure everyone is okay. As much as we’d like to think that the people who work at the station are people of authority, they can’t really help in a situation. Seeing all the threats that keep arising, there really should be more security. Everyone’s life is important.”