Security stepped up at National Mall

January 19, 2009 2:45:10 PM PST
Secret Service officials armed with rifles will have a bird's eye view as millions of people turn out for the inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama. On Tuesday, counter-snipers will position themselves on rooftops along public routes to protect President-elect Obama. The DC police started laying that security infrastructure on Monday. Tow truck drivers and construction workers are moving unauthorized cars and finishing the 10 to 15-feet fences that make up the security perimeter.

Traffic around the area is not moving. Dana Bennet, who drove to D.C. from Gary, Ind., is one of those stuck in traffic.

"We are trying to pick up our tickets for the inauguration. We're hoping we're going to get there. We're going to park and walk the rest of the way," said Dana Bennett, Gary resident.

On Tuesday, 10,000 National Guardsmen from state's along the East Coast will be stationed on virtually every corner in and near the secure zone. There also will 10,000 federal, state and local police officers on duty. Hundreds of the officers will come from other cities, including 48 from the Chicago Police Department.

While officials prepare for as many as 2 to 4 million people in the capital, the weather and traffic issues could reduce the crowd size. David Whitehead--who lives in the district--was on the mall Monday but will not return Tuesday.

"I decided not to be here because there's going to be at least 3-4 million people here. I don't like the congestion. I'm going to watch it from home on my television," said David Whitehead, Washington resident.