NEW YORK (AP) — Police are promising a much bigger security element than ever earlier than in Times Square for this 12 months’s New Year’s Eve celebration, which is able to cap off a 12 months that noticed plenty of deadly attacks, together with a automobile rampage on the very spot the place revelers will ring in 2018.
In addition to its traditional military of snipers, bag-inspecting officers and steel detectors, the division this 12 months is counting on assist from a rising corps of “vapor wake” canines, that are educated to smell out hint quantities of explosive particles that path behind somebody carrying a bomb.
All 125 parking garages within the neighborhood of Times Square will probably be emptied upfront of the celebration and sealed off, so nobody has an opportunity to sneak in a automobile bomb, police stated.
Detectives have already got been assigned to all the dozens of high-rise resorts within the space, with the goal of stopping the kind of assault that occurred in Las Vegas in October, when a gunman firing from a on line casino lodge killed dozens of individuals at an outside live performance beneath. Police would not talk about whether or not friends at space resorts could be screened upfront of the celebration, however Police Commissioner James O’Neill stated officers already are working with lodge security.
“This goes to be one of the vital well-policed, best-protected occasions at one of many most secure venues in the whole world,” O’Neill stated.
The further precautions comply with two latest terrorist attacks within the metropolis. A person detonated a bomb within the metropolis’s subway system on Dec. 11, injuring solely himself. On Halloween, an Islamic State-inspired attacker drove down a bicycle path, killing eight folks earlier than he wrecked his truck and was shot by police.
Times Square itself was focused in May by a person, stated by police to be excessive on medicine, who drove via crowds of pedestrians for greater than three blocks, killing an 18-year-old vacationer from Michigan. The rushing automobile was ultimately stopped by one of many squat steel boundaries which were put in across the sq.’s pedestrian plazas.
Those attacks had been reminders that New York City’s large security equipment can solely accomplish that a lot, however metropolis officers insisted they may be capable to maintain folks protected on New Year’s Eve.
“The reality is, they may completely be protected,” stated Mayor Bill de Blasio, a Democrat.
The police division does not reveal the power of its security drive for the occasion, nevertheless it gave some particulars in regards to the operation at a information convention Thursday.
Officers could have assist from roughly 1,000 security cameras put in in and round Times Square.
An space roughly 22 metropolis blocks lengthy and three lengthy blocks large will probably be sealed off from each automobile and pedestrian visitors with cement blocks, sand-filled rubbish vehicles and different autos blocking the streets main into the realm.
Partygoers getting into that safe zone will probably be screened at a dozen entry factors the place they may encounter steel detectors, the vapor wake canines and officers with transportable radiation detectors. Large backpacks aren’t allowed. All small luggage will probably be searched.
From there, folks undergo a second spherical of security screening once they enter spectator pens the place they’re primarily confined for the evening. People who go away the pens aren’t allowed to re-enter — so no rest room breaks.
Those who make it via will get to see stay performances from Andy Grammer, Nick Jonas and Mariah Carey. A cascade of confetti and fireworks will ring within the new 12 months when the Waterford Crystal ball drops.
In addition to the officers on the scene, dozens of analysts will probably be combing Islamic State propaganda and deciphering information.
Police additionally will probably be out in drive at Coney Island, the place stay music and fireworks had been anticipated to attract giant crowds, and at a midnight occasion for runners in Central Park.
“The takeaway from our preparations is that this: People will probably be protected, and they need to really feel protected, too,” O’Neill stated. “Because the NYPD and our companions are well-prepared.”