New York City ramps up security for New Year’s Eve celebration

In this Nov. 14, 2015 file photo, heavily armed New York city police officers with the Strategic Response Group stand guard at the armed forces recruiting center in New York's Times Square. (AP)

A six-ton crystal ball is ready to be lowered above New York City, colorful paper has been ground into confetti that will rain on Times Square and about 6,000 police officers will guard revelers on New Year’s Eve at one of the city’s highest-profile events.

“We are ready,” Mayor Bill de Blasio told a news conference on Tuesday. “We are the best prepared city in the country, the best prepared city to prevent terrorism and to deal with any event that could occur.”

An estimated one million people are expected in the vicinity of One Times Square on Thursday for the New Year’s Eve dropping of the ball, a tradition begun in 1907 and broken only during wartime blackouts.

In the aftermath of attacks in San Bernardino, California, and Paris, the city will draw on its new Critical Response Command counterterrorism unit, which includes more heavily armed officers, to patrol Times Square. The unit, trained to detect and respond to attack plots, was commissioned days before the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Officers communicating with smart phones and loud speakers will be empowered to shut down the event at any time and evacuate the area, Police Commissioner William Bratton said, adding that there were no known credible threats against New York City.

In November after attacks in Paris that left 130 people dead, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militant group released a video that showed a glimpse of Times Square and then a suicide bomber.

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:47 - GMT 06:47
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