Cops will be keeping a close watch on Times Square.
TIMES SQUARE, NY — City and state law enforcement agencies are boosting security for the New Year’s Eve celebration in Times Square in the wake of two terror attacks in as many months, officials announced Thursday.
Thousands of NYPD cops will be in and around Times Square to guard the 2 million revelers expected to swarm Midtown Manhattan for the annual ball drop, police officials said.
The NYPD’s heavily armed counterterrorism officers will be out in full force throughout the Times Square area, alongside an increased number of bomb-sniffing dogs, NYPD Chief of Patrol Terence Monahan said.
Anti-sniper teams and a helicopter will be watching from the rooftops, while every single New Year’s Eve gathering around the city will be fully staffed with cops on the ground, Monahan said.
“This is going to be one of the most well-policed, best-protected events at one of the safest venues in the entire world,” NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill said at a news conference Thursday.
Police don’t expect the crowd to be any smaller this year despite predictions of frigid temperatures, with a possible low of 10 degrees and wind chills even colder.
Anyone entering Times Square will have to go through two separate security checkpoints — one at the entrance points at Sixth and Eighth avenues and another at the entrance to the viewing pen.
Each person will either be wanded or go through a metal detector after passing by cops armed with long guns and more highly trained bomb-sniffing dogs, Monahan said. No large bags, coolers or umbrellas will be allowed inside.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo has ordered the Port Authority and State Police to beef up their presence at airports, bridges, tunnels and rail and bus terminals with bag checks and heavily armed officers. The MTA will also be monitoring its security systems for any threats, state officials said Thursday.
The NYPD is also stepping up the police presence at transit hubs across the city, officials said. Cops will be on the lookout in the subways following Akayed Ullah’s Dec. 11 attempted suicide bombing near the Times Square station.
Police will roll out sand trucks and concrete blocks to protect side streets from cars in the hopes of preventing another attack like Sayfullo Saipov’s Oct. 31 assault on the Hudson River Greenway that killed eight people. The Islamic State terrorist group inspired both Saipov and Ullah.
NYPD brass emphasized that there’s no specific, credible threat to the city or the New Year’s Eve celebrations, despite the recent circulation of ISIS propaganda encouraging terrorists to target Times Square.
Every police precinct in the city will get a tactical bulletin briefing cops on how to respond to a suicide bomber both before and after a blast, Counterterrorism Chief James Waters said.
“Terrorists regard New York as that kind of place they want to disrupt. New Yorkers respond consistently with strength and resiliency,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said Thursday.
Police will close down crosstown traffic between 37th and 59th streets from Sixth to Eighth avenues starting at 11 a.m. on Sunday, Monahan said. The 125 parking garages in that area will be sealed, with no cars allowed in or out.
The NYPD will also have detectives stationed in every hotel in and around Times Square who will work with hotel security to ensure no one staying in the buildings poses a threat, O’Neill said. (Click to Source)