Celebrating New Year’s Eve in Times Square is a time-honored tradition, but the recent climate surrounding terrorism has some people asking: Will Times Square be safe on New Year’s Eve?
According to authorities with the New York City Police Department and its counter-terrorism unit, NYC’s Times Square will be “the safest place in the world.”
In order to make New Year’s Eve in Times Square safe and secure, the NYPD will have more police officers on the ground than ever before, according to authorities.
To help ring in the 2016 new year, there will be more than 6,000 police on the ground in Times Square, many of whom will be heavily armed, according to reports. In total, there will be about 800 more police officers on the ground than ever before, and reports indicate that there will be approximately one police officer for every 166 civilians.
In addition, the police department will have helicopters circling Times Square, officers on rooftops, plainclothes officers, bomb-sniffing dogs, and a counter-terrorism unit working to keep party goers in New York City safe on New Year’s Eve. ABC News also reports that more than 20,000 smartphones were distributed to police officers earlier this year so that the officers can share “information and photos quickly about potential threats.”
More than one million people are expected to pack into the 20 blocks surrounding Times Square in order to watch the ball drop and celebrate the beginning of 2016.
In a press conference Tuesday, NYC mayor Bill de Blasio assured the public that the police department would be on alert for any suspicious activity.
“On New Year’s Eve, the department will be out in force. There will be a tremendous number of officers you will see and many you won’t see.”
Despite the extra measures put into place, the police department and counter-terrorism unit assure Times Square revelers that they have not come across any terrorism threats that they “deem credible.”
Shortly after the recent terrorist attacks in Paris, the NYPD formed the Critical Response Command counter-terrorism unit, which consists of about 560 heavily-armed officers trained specifically to detect potential terrorist threats.
The additional security measures don’t end with extra patrols. In addition, revelers will be searched with hand-held metal detectors twice while traveling to their ultimate New Year’s Eve party location. According to reports, they will be screened for the first time when they cross through one of the 14 access points, and they will be screened for the second time when they enter the area where they will wait for the ball to drop.
Additionally, vending machines and trash cans have been removed from many locations throughout the area, and chemical and radiation detectors will be used, according to Fox News. Manhole covers also will be sealed, according to the Journal News.
Clearly, the authorities in New York City have put a lot of thought into how to best protect those looking to celebrate New Year’s Eve in Times Square. In fact, according to Mayor de Blasio, there isn’t a city in the world where the authorities have put more security measures in place, and during his press conference on Tuesday, de Blasio made it known that he believes Times Square to be incredibly secure.
“We are ready. 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.”
Do you think New Year’s Eve in Times Square will be a safe event? Do you believe the New York City Police Department is prepared to deal with any potential threat that could arise? Why or why not?
Find out more about the ball drop tradition in New York City’s Times Square on New Year’s Eve.
[Photo by Christopher Gregory/Getty Images News]