Check out an exciting morning in Cedar Rapids. This building is kitty-corner to mine: http://www.kcrg.com/news/local/Cedar-Rapids-Building-Evacuated-Bomb-Squad-En-Route-to-Check-on-Suitcases-129526013.html
Turns out they were just the personal belongings of a homeless man (very sad, when you think about it), but I'm glad that the city took the situation serious.
I am not so pleased with the people who complain to no end during these incidences - saying it's disruptive, a waste of time and money, or, I love this one, "the terrorists have won."
Yes, it costs money to send out the police, stop trains and traffic, and let the bomb squad play with their robot.
But it costs a bajillion times more if a bomb goes off:
- Loss of life has no price tag
- Disruption of a business is costly
- Heavy damage to a building (or surrounding structures) can tank a company
- No one thinks about secondary damage - sidewalks, roads, landscaping, street signs, utility poles ... someone has to pay for those to be fixed
- Events like these negatively impact an area's image - people may still want to visit the Statue of Liberty after 9/11, but not every city can sustain such a blow.
The biggest cost overlooked is liability. Imagine if the police had pooh-poohed the suitcases and they had gone off as a bomb. Now the city is on the hook for not responding to a call. That company could then sue, and now you really are talking about taxpayer dollars.
At any rate, I'd much have a brouhaha made over nothing than to be complacent about a genuine threat.