The NYPD wants New Yorkers to thoroughly enjoy the Fourth of July with the added comfort of knowing the annual display over the East River is as tight as ever.
Deputy Commissioner of Counterintelligence John Miller said though there are no known credible threats for Independence Day, the NYPD has taken into account recent terrorist acts around the world.
“The message is, come to the fireworks, bring your families, have a great time because you’re going to have one of the most well-policed, best protected events in what is one of the safest venues in the world,” Miller said.
Miller said the NYPD has the “most enhanced counterterrorism overlay” planned that includes counterterrorism officers on the ground, radiation detection, camera monitoring and real-time follow-up on tips submitted through "If You See Something, Say Something."
The NYPD will also be monitoring social media activity, and Miller said there were social media clues ahead of the Garland, Texas attacks last month, where gunman killed two people at a cartoon drawing contest of the Prophet Mohammed.
The July 4 holiday will fall a little more than a week after terrorists attacks in France, Kuwait and Tunisia by individuals on behalf of ISIS.
A 23-year-old New Jersey man, Alaa Saadeh, was the fifth suspect arrested in the Tri-State area on terrorism charges this month. Saadeh was allegedly involved in a terror plot to detonate a pressure cooker bomb at an NYC landmark.
“Unfortunately I do think with the current situation happening all of the world that this will happen someday [in New York City],” said Riyadh Mohammed, an Iraqi-born journalist and ISIS expert who writes for the Fiscal Times. “ISIS and Al Qaeda have targets they are walkways trying to hit, and New York is one of them.”
Mohammed said while it’s not yet clear if the recent plot thwarted in New Jersey is directly linked to ISIS, many recent attacks are ISIS-inspired attacks that are provoked and planned on social media.
Mohammed said “we’re really lucky these people are talking on social media” because it tips off law enforcement. The problem is that once an ISIS-affiliated site is shut down, many more are created in its place that same day.
A Macy’s spokeswoman said the fireworks organizer defers to the NYPD on all matters security for the East River show.