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April 17, 2014

Organizers confident of safe race

BOSTON — The arrest of a man with a rice cooker in his backpack near the Boston Marathon finish line led police to step up patrols Wednesday, while organizers sought to assure the city and runners of a safe race next week.

The actions of the man, whose mother said he had a mental disorder, rattled nerves as Boston prepared for the annual race, but authorities said they did not consider it a security breach. Officials also expressed confidence in heightened security measures for Monday’s event while acknowledging the challenge of protecting an estimated 1 million spectators and 36,000 runners across 26.2 miles and eight Massachusetts communities.

Security plans include thousands of uniformed police, hundreds of plainclothes officers and about 100 strategically positioned video cameras that will monitor the crowds.

“I believe this will be the safest place on the planet on April 21,” said Dave McGillivray, the race director for the Boston Athletic Association.

Boston police detonated the suspicious backpack Tuesday night, along with a second backpack that was later found to have been left behind by a journalist covering the day’s remembrances, Police Commissioner William Evans said.

Neither bag was determined to have explosives.

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