Those visiting Times Square for New Year’s Eve celebrations this year can expect to see additional security, as law enforcement prepares for the annual gathering in the wake of two terror attacks that occurred in the city this year.
New York City Police Commissioner James O’Neill said during a press conference Thursday there are “no direct credible threats” to New York City during the annual New Year’s Eve festivities. But he warned the expected 2 million people coming to Times Square that there will be an unprecedented amount of security.
“You’ll see a stronger police presence out there then we’ve seen even in recent years, and that’s prudent, given the terror events we’ve seen and studied around the world, as well as the three incidents here in New York over the past 15 months,” O’Neill said.
Those going to see the famed ball drop in Times Square will enter the area through a dozen access points, and will pass through magnetometers and have their bags searched, Terence Monahan, the chief of patrol for the New York City Police Department said.
There will be “vapor wake” dogs and heavy weapons teams assigned to each of the access points.
Attendees will undergo a second round of screening when they enter the pens where they’ll ring in the new year, and are prohibited from carrying large bags, umbrellas or coolers.
In addition to the dogs and heavy weapons teams that will be stationed throughout the area, detectives will also be assigned to the hotels surrounding Times Square in an effort to avoid an attack like the one that occurred during a country music festival in Las Vegas in October.
The New York City Police Department is working with both the FBI and the Secret Service, Monahan said.
“New York City is one of the few places in the world that could host an event like this and provide this level of security,” New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said.
The New Year’s Eve celebration comes on the heels of two terror attacks in the city.
In October, eight were killed after Sayfullo Saipov allegedly drove a rented truck down a bike path near the World Trade Center.
Then earlier this month, police believe Akayed Ullah detonated a pipe bomb in a heavily-trafficked walkway connecting the Seventh Avenue subway lines and the Eighth Avenue subway lines.
No one was killed in the blast, but three were injured.