NEW YORK — Three days before the ball drops in Times Square, security is already building up.
“The take away from our preparation is this: people will be safe and should feel safe too,” said James O’Neill, New York City Police Commissioner.
To protect about 1 million revelers in a city still shaken by a botched pipe bombing this month and a deadly vehicle attack on Halloween, the NYPD is promising to step up patrols, canine teams and heavy-weapons squads.
The old concrete barriers are back too, along with sand trucks to block vehicles. But the NYPD is putting special focus on aerial security, with spotters on buildings and — for the first time — officers stationed in every hotel along 7th Avenue to react in the event of a sniper-style attack.
Three months after Las Vegas suffered the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history, the city’s New Year’s Eve party has been designated a “SEAR 1” security event by the Department of Homeland Security. That’s a designation typically reserved for political conventions and the Super Bowl.
It allows law enforcement to add snipers and twice as many armed rapid-response teams, in addition to 800 steel security pylons.
“I’m confident every available resource is being used to make sure this New Year’s Eve will be safe,” said Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo.
Other big cities are beefing up their security too. Chicago police said they are adding specialized teams with a focus on vehicle-style attacks. For the first time, Miami will conduct random security checks at its outdoor events. In San Francisco, just days after spoiling an alleged plan to attack the city’s popular tourist site Pier 39, police are beefing up security along the famed Embarcadero.
Los Angeles, Philadelphia and Boston declined to discuss their plans with CBS News, citing department policy. While a mass gathering is always a potential target, no city has information about a specific, credible threat at this time.
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