New York City Steps Up Security In Wake Of Bin Laden’s Death
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – There is no specific terror threat against New York City. But extra police officers are at the World Trade Center site, airports, bridges and in our subways just in case.
You’ve seen extra security measures in the last few years before. Of course, never with the added urgency of something like the death of Osama bin Laden. But everywhere in our area, you will see more of a police presence. Though, of course, what you do not see is an even more important element of the security. At every transportation mode that you can imagine; at key buildings; at bridges; and tunnels, security has been stepped up more than just a notch.
“We put out a directive to all of our offices to be alert for suspicious packages or any evidence our transit system or infrastructure or iconic locations are being targeted,” NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly told CBS 2’s Pablo Guzman.
Kelly kept the 4 p.m. to midnight shift on an extra tour of duty on Sunday night when advised of bin Laden’s death, primarily to beef up the presence on the subways, which are always a concern.
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said that although bin Laden is dead, vigilance remains key.
“We have to make sure that we continue to keep ourselves as safe as possible,” Bloomberg said.
Bloomberg also said New York City will continue to do whatever it takes to remain as secure as possible.
“You can rest assured,” he said, “We are going to provide the security that is needed and then figure out how to pay for it.”
New York City officials told CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer that they’re always on high alert in the Big Apple, but that they were adding the usual anti-terrorist overlay to their usual plans. They said that locations that could be potential targets for terror attacks will get additional protection.
“I’m not [worried at all]. I feel very confident, being a New Yorker, that the municipality will take care of it,” said Jerry Yuen of Sunnyside, Queens.
That was the attitude: extra security? By all means.
“I have no trouble with it. I was actually in the Trade Center so I was actually thrilled with it. It was good to hear,” straphanger Steve McGivney said.
“Getting the news last night feels like a victory. But today’s still just another … another day. So, we’re still gonna keep living. We still have to be careful. But, you’re gonna have to just keep going on,” added Carrie Hoffman of the East Village.
“I stop and think. You know, you always worry. You always gotta look around and make sure. You know? You pay attention to what’s going on around you. And then hope for the best,” said Anthony Barbaro of Canarsie.
And while Barbaro’s attitude was philosophical, Commissioner Kelly has to take a far more pragmatic view, because he knows the subways are just one of many potential targets, especially for someone looking to get revenge for bin Laden on their own. Kelly, though, said the city is ready.
“We are certainly not taking any chances. Our assumption is that bin Laden’s disciples would like nothing better than to avenge his death,” Kelly said.
As mentioned before, Kelly was briefed about bin Laden by Washington before it became public, but the NYPD and other agencies have always had a plan for this day, operating on the assumption that sooner or later, bin Laden would be brought down. So the heightened security you see at train stations, ferries, key buildings, religious institutions, and airports are something that has been worked on for some time.
And the public appears to understand that a little inconvenience is the price we must all pay.
“I think we’re at risk every day. I think they’re doing a good job keeping us protected. I feel safer now that he’s gone,” said Subhang Shah of New Hyde Park, N.Y.
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey said it will add more police at the facilities it runs, which include the airports, the George Washington Bridge and ground zero. The measures aren’t a response to any current threat and all the facilities will operate normally otherwise, the Port Authority said.
“This response is not based on a current threat, but out of an abundance of caution until we have the chance to learn more,” the agency said.
There is more security at the Empire State Building, which, after 9/11, reclaimed the title of tallest building in New York City.
Though some felt it was like an ordinary day there, others found themselves staring downtown at the area where the Twin Towers once stood.
Eighty four Port Authority employees died in the attack on the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001.
Rail riders in Connecticut may noticed an increased security presence.
But this is just a coincidence. New teams began their work last week.
Connecticut Homeland Security commissioner Peter Boynton said there was no immediate plan to boost security, but did stress the importance of the public’s eyes and ears.
“Because they’re so familiar with their routine, they’re going to be the first to notice if something just doesn’t seem right,” he told WCBS 880 Connecticut Bureau Chief Fran Schneidau.
For some, the new concern is complacency.
“And that’s my biggest concern,” Richard Sheirer, former director of New York City’s Office of Emergency Management, told WCBS 880 reporter Peter Haskell. “That we, you know, say ‘Oh well. Bin Laden’s gone… It’s the end of al Qaeda.’ I doubt that.”
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Does Osama bin Laden’s death make you more or less concerned about a terror attack? Leave a comment below…