New York boosts security for New Year’s after Europe attacks

New York City officials say Times Square is ready to host safe New Year's Eve celebrations in the Big Apple and that they were not expecting President-elect Trump to attend the iconic Times Square ball drop.
A large number 17 arrives for Times Square's New Year's Eve celebrations in New York City, NY, US on Dec 15, 2016.
A large number 17 arrives for Times Square's New Year's Eve celebrations in New York City, NY, US on Dec 15, 2016. PHOTO: REUTERS

NEW YORK (AFP) – New York authorities will deploy dozens of trucks on city streets during New Year’s Eve celebrations, to boost security in the wake of recent truck attacks in Europe, the police said on Thursday (Dec 29).

About 65 sand and sanitation trucks will be placed in “strategic locations” around Times Square, where more than a million people are expected to attend the traditional New Year’s Eve ball drop, New York police Chief of Department Carlos Gomez told a news conference. 

An additional hundred or more “blocker” vehicles will be deployed elsewhere throughout the city to prevent vehicles from plowing into the crowd, he added. 

“We paid close attention to events in Nice and Berlin, we have enhanced security measures,” Gomez said. 

The deployment will reinforce the already massive security regime adopted in recent years, including some 7,000 police and anti-terrorist forces in uniform and plain clothes patrolling the areas around Times Square and other planned festivities across the city, he added. 

Pedestrians wishing to access Times Square will have to settle for carrying only small bags and passing through at least two security checks, where any objects deemed dangerous – including alcohol and even umbrellas – will be prohibited. 

In July, a truck driven by a radicalised Tunisian man cut down a crowd gathered in the French city of Nice to mark the national Bastille Day holiday, killing 86 people. The Islamic State of IRaq and Syria group claimed responsibility for the attack. 

Last week, another Tunisian killed 12 people when he smashed a truck into a Christmas market in Berlin. Italian police killed the alleged perpetrator several days later after stopping him for a document check in Milan.