New York [USA]: The New York Police Department (NYPD) on Friday announced that there would be heavy security cover in the Times Square area of New York City in the upcoming New Year’s Eve celebrations.
According to the New York Times, concrete barriers, a special explosive detecting device and sniffing dogs are some of the security measures the NYPD has taken for the annual ball drop ceremony in Times Square.
In the wake of recent terror and gun attacks in New York and elsewhere in the US, the NYPD is taking no chances and is pulling out all the safety stops in its bid to keep the city safe.
According to the security plan, trucks and other commercial vehicles would not be allowed near Times Square and other prominent places, which will see a huge footfall by tourists and locals. Access restrictions will begin as early as 11 am from Sunday for the ceremony and revellers must pass through one of 12 entry points. Those who leave before the ceremony finishes will not be allowed re-entry again. Backpacks, large bags, umbrellas and alcoholic beverages will be prohibited inside the viewing area.
Arrangements such as check gates and magnetometers on sniffer dogs would be installed that detect airborne particles from explosives after a person carrying or wearing them has left an area. Also, armed officers will guard every hotel located in the Times Square. The hotel rooftops would be guarded by counter-sniper teams.
“There’s a huge responsibility on all of us to keep New York safe. We understand why we are a target. Because of our success, terrorists want to disrupt us,” said city mayor de Blasio.
“We must have the help of the people in the city. Any one New Yorker can save countless lives,” added de Blasio.
De Blasio and Police Commissioner James O’Neill said that there was no known specific threat against the city, but stressed the need to be vigilant at all times.
Nearly two million people are expected to flock in Times Square to witness the big ball drop ceremony, and usher in the New Year celebrations thereafter.
“People will be safe and they should feel safe too. We will ensure New York has a safe enjoyable New Year’s Eve,” O’Neill said.
New York City and the US have been put on a high alert since September last year, after a bomb blast occurred in the city and the nearby New Jersey, injuring 31 people. It was followed by a vehicle-ramming attack in Ohio State University in November 2016.
In 2017 alone, vehicle-ramming attacks were reported in Virginia and New York City, which injured scores. The shootout at a concert in a Las Vegas hotel on October 31 was the deadliest of all the attacks, since 9/11. It left 58 people dead and injured more than 500 people. The Islamic State (IS) later claimed the attack. (ANI)