The New York Police Department is expected to take “unprecedented” security measures to keep visitors safe during the historically crowded New Year’s celebration in Times Square, including enhancing surveillance of large trucks, often used as killing machines by jihadists.
Experts told ABC News that the more than one million people expected to ring in 2017 in Times Square make the location “an inherent target.”
ABC News reports:
The security precautions that will be taken by the New York Police Department to protect the revelers are expected to be unprecedented. Typical security measures, like using sand trucks and blocker vehicles on nearby cross streets and a mix of plainclothes and uniformed officers, will be deployed as always, but other steps, such as increasing security at nearby parking garages and closer surveillance of large rental trucks, are also being put in place, city officials said, according to local ABC station WABC.
Days before Christmas, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo vowed to deploy “hundreds” of law enforcement personnel and National Security troops during the holiday season to protect partygoers and visitors in New York City, according to the New York Post.
“This is more than we’ve done before. It’s a response to terrorist activity we’ve never seen before,” he added, referring to security efforts. “What we’ve seen lately is these lone-wolf incidents.”
New York reportedly began employing preventive measures before the start of the holiday season, which is predicted to drive a record number of tourists to New York.
As the holiday season approached this year, the FBI and U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) urged Americans to stay “alert”:
— Homeland Security (@DHSgov) December 21, 2017
While there were no “credible threats” as of December 22, “We must remain vigilant,” declared Chris Krebs from DHS in a joint public service announcement with the FBI.
A joint assessment of the New Year’s celebration in New York released on December 21 by multiple law enforcement agencies also noted there was “no information to indicate a specific, credible threat” toward the Times Square celebration, but Americans should remain cautious.
Various U.S. law enforcement agencies maintain their assertion that there are no specific, credible threats at this time.
Nevertheless, the joint assessment report on New York stated that U.S. law enforcement officials “remain concerned about international terrorists and domestic extremists potentially targeting the event.”
“New York is not the only city that has law enforcement officials concerned about keeping celebrants safe,” acknowledges ABC News, highlighting Las Vegas, Nevada.
At the beginning of this month, top U.S. national security officials warned that the United States is facing an “elevated threat” from homegrown violent extremists (HVEs) seeking to carry out so-called lone wolf attacks on behalf of the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL).
ISIS has been able to retain its ability online to mobilize “HVE lone offenders attacks” against the United States even as its so-called caliphate in Iraq and Syria “collapses,” cautioned Robin Taylor, a top intelligence official at DHS.
The warning came a few days before Akayed Ullah, an ISIS-linked Bangladeshi national, attempted to carry out a terrorist attack in NYC on December 11, marking the second lone-wolf assault in a six-week period.
On October 31, Sayfullo Saipov, an ISIS-affiliated Uzbek citizen, drove a vehicle into a crowd of Halloween revelers in NYC, killing eight people and injuring at least a dozen others.
“There’s no doubt we had two terrorist attacks in two months. There’s no doubt that tensions have been heightened,” declared Gov. Cuomo.