Society

6,000 Officers, Counterterrorism Agents Watch Over New Year's Celebration In Times Square

| by Nik Bonopartis
Times Square on Dec. 30, 2014.Times Square on Dec. 30, 2014.

A small army of New York Police Department officers will be on hand when New York revelers ring in the New Year, with a vague threat and ISIS propaganda showing Times Square convincing authorities to step up already tight security.

New York won't be the only place with extra police and anti-terrorism agents keeping crowds safe: In Pasadena, California, police and feds will keep watch over a popular New Year's parade route and the Rose Bowl, which drew 700,000 people last year, the Daily Mail reported. Likewise, law enforcement agencies in Washington, D.C., will tighten security for celebrations in the nation's capital.

In New York City, where police have foiled several terrorism plots in the years since Sept. 11, 2011, Mayor Bill DeBlasio and senior police told reporters that 6,000 police armed with radiation detectors and bomb-sniffing dogs will patrol the area around Times Square. Revelers will be searched and screened with metal detectors before they're allowed into a cordoned-off area, and authorities have banned backpacks and large bags from the event.

"We are very confident that New Year's Eve in New York City will be the safest place in the world to be," said James Water, the city's counterterrorism chief.

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In November, ISIS released a new video with images of New York's Times Square and Herald Square intercut with footage of suicide bombers. Homeland Security officials have said they're aware of threats against the U.S. during the holiday, but said those threats were vague and weren't corroborated by other intelligence.

Nonetheless, DeBlasio said the NYPD is prepared. New York's 2016 celebration is set to include performances from rapper Wiz Khalifa and country singers Luke Bryan and Carrie Underwood, with CNN anchor Anderson Cooper among the hosts helping the crowd usher in the New Year. A live camera feed showed thousands of revelers already assembled in Times Square on the morning of Dec. 31.

New York City expects 1 million revelers in Times Square, according to NBC News.

"This is the best prepared city in this country to stop terrorism," DeBlasio said. "And people should rest assured that they will be very well protected on New Year's Eve."

Sources: Daily Mail, CNN, NBC News, Times Square Alliance / Photo source: Wikimedia Commons