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Tall Ships event assigned top security risk

The much-anticipated arrival of the Tall Ships in Boston this weekend has been designated one of the highest security risks in the country this year, ranking behind only a handful of national events such as the presidential inauguration, the state s homeland security adviser said Tuesday. The federal government s analysis, known as special event assessment rating 1, ranks the event as a greater security risk than the Boston Marathon and Boston s July Fourth celebration, and is equivalent to the Super Bowl, said Patrick McMurray, the state s undersecretary for homeland security.

It’s a new world environment now, said McMurray, who worked for the Secret Service for 25 years. The elevated assessment comes after several terror attacks in Europe that have targeted scores of civilians and put law enforcement on even higher alert. Boston has not had a security operation of this scope since the Democratic National Convention in 2004, McMurray said, and fewer than 10 events in the United States this year have been classified as SEAR 1.

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McMurray stressed that no specific threat has been discovered, and that a broad array of law enforcement agencies has been working closely for many months to ensure that Sail Boston 2017 is a safe event. But several factors millions of potential spectators, complex geography involving land and sea, and the arrival of foreign ships and dignitaries, for example prompted the Department of Homeland Security to label Sail Boston as SEAR 1, he said. By contrast, the Marathon and Independence Day concert on the Esplanade are designated SEAR 2, he said.

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