Monday night will see people taking to the streets all over the world for celebrations to ring in the new year. With those massive crowds of people come huge safety concerns for law enforcement, and the police in New York City have come up with a plan to combat these potential issues that will require much less man-power.
As reported by Reuters, the NYPD will be making use of drones on New Year’s Eve in the city, particularly to monitor the crowds that will gather in Times Square to watch the ball drop into 2019. They also added that there are no imminent dangers or threats made to the celebrations, and that the presence of the drone is merely a precautionary measure.
The drone, which will be carrying a camera, of course, will be positioned on the roof of a nearby building rather than continuously flying over the crowd’s heads. It will simply be an extra set of eyes for the police, in addition to the 1,225 fixed video cameras that police are deploying for the occasion.
The New York Police department will also be working in conjunction with federal agents and anti-drone technology to ensure no civilians are flying drones in the area as the clock ticks over into 2019.
“Don’t fly a drone that night,” Police Commissioner James O’Neill told reporters at a news conference. “If you fly one, there’s a good chance you’re going to end up getting arrested.”
Drones recently made it into the news after civilians repeatedly flew the devices too close to Gatwick International Airport in London, shutting the airport for three days and inconveniencing thousands of passengers planning on using the airport.
Aside from their precautions with the drone, police are cutting off Times Square and the surrounding areas to traffic, and putting thousands of both uniformed and plainclothes officers on the ground. There will also be sharpshooters located on rooftops nearby, and other officers will be armed at civilians checkpoints, where bags and pockets will be checked.
Maintenance crews have already sealed off manholes in the vicinity to prevent people from being able to bypass security checkpoints and still get to Times Square.
Police have further implemented precautions pertaining to the high-rise hotel blocks surrounding Times Square, in an effort to prevent a shooter from being able to use a hotel room as a vantage point, as in the case of the attack in Las Vegas in 2017.