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Security heightened at Jewish facilities across country

A police officer keeps watch at an entrance to the Jewish Community Center in Houston. Security is on heightened alert as the center hosts the 1999 Maccabi Games.

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August 13, 1999
Web posted at: 12:11 a.m. EDT (0411 GMT)

In this story:

Preventing 'acts of imitation'

'People tend to forget'


MIAMI (CNN) -- In the wake of the shooting rampage in Los Angeles, synagogues and Jewish community centers around the country have tightened security out of concern for possible copycat crimes.

At a Jewish community center in Miami, where 850 children attend summer camp, extra police cars patrol the streets and parking lots. Officers on bicycles add protection.

While there have been no threats, the center's director, Ed Rosen, has sought to reassure parents that security is tight and their children are safe at the facility.

"Our first priority is for the safety and welfare of the children and our members. And we do everything possible to make sure the safety is maintained," he said.

Preventing 'acts of imitation'

In New York, police have increased direct patrols around sensitive facilities, particularly in Jewish communities.

Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Police Commissioner Howard Safir said the extra patrols were meant as a measure of "excess caution" out of concern for "acts of imitation" of the shooting at the Los Angeles area North Valley Jewish Community Center.

In that shooting, suspected gunman Buford Furrow, a self-described white supremacist, fired at least 70 rounds in the lobby of the community center, injuring five people, including three young children.

Giuliani and Safir stressed there is no evidence of any New York connections to the Aryan Nations or any such white supremacist groups associated with Furrow.

But the mayor described white supremacy as an ideology that hates Jews, blacks and immigrants that could potentially put those communities, all plentiful in New York, at risk. The New York metropolitan area is home to the largest Jewish population in the United States.

"Anything that happens in any part of the country can happen in New York," Giuliani said.

The mayor heard the concerns of leaders of several Jewish groups during a city hall meeting. He and Safir said the city would take special precautions, including more police patrols, during the Jewish New Year holidays next month.

'People tend to forget'

Heightened security was seen at Jewish facilities elsewhere in the country, from Washington, D.C. to Detroit to Denver to San Francisco to Los Angeles.

Arthur Teitelbaum of the Anti-Defamation League said he's worried some facilities will eventually drop their guard.

"When things are calm, when there doesn't seem to be an immediate relevance, people tend to forget," he said.

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Federal Bureau of Investigation
The Los Angeles Police Department
Los Angeles City Fire Department
Temple Beth Torah of Granada Hills
Providence Holy Cross Medical Center
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