NYPD securing Times Square
No specific threat for New Year’s Eve
Security on New Year’s Eve in Times Square in New York City will include barricades comprising heavy-duty trucks to protect the expected 2 million revelers from vehicle attacks similar to those carried out this year in Nice, France, and Berlin, Germany.
New York Police Commissioner James O’Neill said Thursday that authorities have no direct concerns related to terrorism attacks targeting Times Square or New Year’s Eve in general, but noted that an extraordinary number of police officers will be deployed throughout the city.
“People will be safe this New Year’s Eve because we’re there, along with our law enforcement partners,” Commissioner O’Neil said during a press conference Thursday morning outlining security plans. “We will have one of the most well-policed, best-protected events at one of the safest events in the entire world.”
Officials said 65 trash trucks and sand trucks will be placed in strategic locations around the perimeter of Times Square to prevent any vehicles from entering areas where pedestrians are gathered.
Another 100 smaller vehicles also will be deployed as “blocker vehicles.”
In July 86 people were killed on Bastille Day in Nice after a terrorist attacker drove a box truck into a large crowd of spectators who had gathered to watch holiday fireworks. A similar attack was carried out at a Christmas market in Berlin on Dec. 19, with an attacker killing 12 people by driving through the bustling market.
Last month a student at Ohio State University injured 11 people when he drove his car into a group of pedestrians on campus and then slashed others with a knife.
The attacks have prompted authorities across the country to re-evaluate the way they handle security at large-scale outdoor events.
Over the holidays, security barriers were erected outside Christmas markets in New York City, and heavily armed police often stood guard.
Authorities in Pasadena, California, are planning to erect barriers to close off 56 streets that connect to the route for the annual Tournament of Roses Parade, being held on Jan. 2, in order to prevent any vehicles attacks.
“We’re trying to take the speed out of the equation,” Pasadena Police Chief Phillip Sanchez told the Daily Breeze.
Authorities in New York and Pasadena also are monitoring truck rentals ahead of the events to be on the alert for any suspicious activity.