US cities beef up se­cu­rity

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

NEW YORK: New York, Bos­ton and other cities in the United States bol­stered se­cu­rity on Fri­day night af­ter deadly gun and bomb at­tacks on civil­ians in Paris, but law en­force­ment of­fi­cials said the beefed-up po­lice pres­ence was pre­cau­tion­ary rather than a re­sponse to any spe­cific threats. The New York Po­lice Depart­ment said of­fi­cers from its Counter ter­ror­ism Re­sponse Com­mand and other spe­cial units were de­ployed in ar­eas fre­quented by tourists, and at the French Con­sulate in Man­hat­tan.

“Teams have been dis­patched to crowded ar­eas around the city out of an abun­dance of cau­tion to pro­vide po­lice pres­ence and pub­lic re­as­sur­ance as we fol­low the de­vel­op­ing sit­u­a­tion over­seas,” the NYPD said in a state­ment. New York, the site of the Sept 11, 2001, hi­jacked plane at­tacks that killed nearly 3,000 peo­ple and de­stroyed the World Trade Cen­ter’s twin tow­ers, is con­sid­ered a top tar­get for po­ten­tial at­tacks by Is­lamist mil­i­tants. The top of the Em­pire State Build­ing and the spire at One World Trade Cen­ter were lit up Fri­day night with blue, white and red, the colors of the French flag.

The nearly si­mul­ta­ne­ous gun and bomb at­tacks in Paris killed at least 120 peo­ple in var­i­ous places across the French cap­i­tal and wounded many oth­ers. The NYPD did not say how many ex­tra of­fi­cers were sent to guard the ar­eas of con­cern nor did it spec­ify the ar­eas where the ex­tra of­fi­cers were sent. “Ev­ery time we see an at­tack like this, it is a re­minder to be pre­pared, to be vig­i­lant,” New York Mayor Bill de Bla­sio told ABC 7 tele­vi­sion. New York Gov­er­nor An­drew Cuomo said he di­rected state law en­force­ment of­fi­cials to mon­i­tor the Paris sit­u­a­tion for any im­pli­ca­tions for New York state and to re­main in con­stant com­mu­ni­ca­tion with their lo­cal and fed­eral part­ners.

The Port Author­ity of New York and New Jer­sey said po­lice were on height­ened alert at all of the agency’s bridges, tun­nels and rail fa­cil­i­ties, as well as at the World Trade Cen­ter in lower Man­hat­tan. It said it was in­creas­ing pa­trols and check­ing of buses and trains and pas­sen­gers’ bags. US Depart­ment of Home­land Se­cu­rity Sec­re­tary Jeh John­son said in a state­ment that “we know of no spe­cific or cred­i­ble threats of an at­tack on the US home­land of the type that occurred in Paris tonight.”

The Na­tional Bas­ket­ball As­so­ci­a­tion, which had 11 games on the sched­ule Fri­day night, said it was in­creas­ing se­cu­rity at each of the venues. The most pop­u­lar sport, Amer­i­can foot­ball, would not have any games un­til Sun­day as pre­vi­ously sched­uled. “Se­cu­rity at our games is al­ways at a height­ened state of alert,” Na­tional Foot­ball League spokesman Brian McCar thy said. Out­side of New York, law en­force­ment and trans­porta­tion agen­cies said they were also on high alert. The US Capi­tol Po­lice in Wash­ing­ton boosted pa­trols around the Capi­tol com­plex, a spokes­woman said. “There is cur­rently no known threat to the Capi­tol Com­plex,” she said in an email.

The Met­ro­pol­i­tan Po­lice Depart­ment in Wash­ing­ton had de­ployed ad­di­tional law en­force­ment re­sources to French-owned sites and other high-pro­file lo­ca­tions as a pre­cau­tion, said Of­fi­cer Sean Hick­man. Hick­man said there was no known im­mi­nent threat. In Bos­ton, the po­lice depart­ment said it de­ployed ad­di­tional re­sources and was work­ing closely with fed­eral au­thor­i­ties but saw no cred­i­ble threat in the city, where Is­lamist mil­i­tant sym­pa­thiz­ers set off home-made bombs at the Bos­ton Marathon fin­ish line in April 2013. Mas­sachusetts State Po­lice said they took “sev­eral ac­tions”, in­clud­ing bol­ster­ing se­cu­rity around the State House in Bos­ton.

The Bos­ton Po­lice Depart­ment said in a state­ment that it was en­cour­ag­ing of­fi­cers to re­main vig­i­lant as they con­duct pa­trols. The St Louis Po­lice Depart­ment said it added an ex­tra layer of se­cu­rity for the World Cup soc­cer qual­i­fy­ing match be­tween the United States and St. Vin­cent on Fri­day night. Chicago po­lice said they were fol­low­ing devel­op­ments in France to de­ter­mine whether to bol­ster city se­cu­rity but was not aware of any im­me­di­ate threats. “Tonight the City of Chicago stands shoul­der to shoul­der with the City of Paris in the wake of to­day’s de­spi­ca­ble and hor­ri­fy­ing at­tacks,” Mayor Rahm Emanuel said.

San Francisco po­lice of­fi­cers have been told to main­tain high vis­i­bil­ity and in­crease pa­trols in ar­eas of high pub­lic traf­fic, such as bus and train sta­tions, said Sgt. Michael An­dray­chak. Po­lice have been in con­tact with the French Con­sulate and are work­ing to ad­dress any se­cu­rity con­cerns it may have. In Pitts­burgh, which was host­ing a Na­tional Hockey League game on Fri­day, a po­lice spokes­woman said pub­lic safety per­son­nel were work­ing with in­tel­li­gence au­thor­i­ties to iden­tify any in­di­ca­tions of lo­cal threats. Am­trak, the US pas­sen­ger train ser­vice, said it was mon­i­tor­ing the events in Paris but said there were no spe­cific or cred­i­ble threats against the rail­way. —Reuters

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