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Steps taken to counter-terror in San Fran

ALAMEDA, Calif., Feb. 5 (UPI) -- The U.S. Coast Guard is taking steps to upgrade security capabilities in the San Francisco Bay area in a move to counter potential terrorist threats.

The Coast Guard recently began to increase the level of "firepower" by integrating new weapons systems onto the agency's helicopters in the San Francisco Bay region. The new helicopter weaponry adds to a fleet of armed boats also operating in the region designed to counter terrorist threats, the Coast Guard reported.

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"The new armed helicopter capability will generally be used in conjunction with armed vessels and personnel for stopping clear and present threats to targets such as cruise ships, naval vessels and bridges in Northern California," the release said.

Additionally, Coast Guard officials say they have increased the number of crew members to the Northern California region and have begun new training initiatives, including operations to intercept the threat of a possibly hostile boat.

The security upgrades by the Coast Guard in the San Francisco Bay area are part of a larger Homeland Security Department effort that includes six other major port regions in the United States.

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