New York City is about to get a little more crowded as the holiday season winds down, but the extra bodies won’t just be tourists or visiting family. They’ll be extra law enforcement courtesy of Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
According to the New York Post, the governor is deploying “hundreds” of extra state, MTA and Port Authority police officers as well as troops from the National Guard in the wake of two recent terror attacks in the city, though he said the added safety measure is “all precautionary.”
“This is something we’re doing strategically. There is no specific threat,” Cuomo told the paper Monday night.
The extra law enforcement deployment, which will work in unison with the NYPD and federal authorities, began Tuesday at Penn Station, Grand Central Terminal, the nine MTA-operated bridges and tunnels, Port Authority Hudson crossings and at both LaGuardia and JFK airports.
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The personnel includes bomb-sniffing dogs, increased surveillance of high-profile areas and rapid radiation response vehicles, Cuomo said.
In the span of 41 days, two terror attacks occurred in the city. The first was on Halloween morning, when Sayfullo Saipov drove a rented truck down a bike path in Lower Manhattan, killing eight people and injuring a dozen others.
The second occurred last Monday when Akayed Ullah detonated an improvised explosive device in an underground pedestrian passageway between Times Square and Port Authority, severely injuring himself and three others.
After both incidents, the NYPD ramped up its presence in many high-profile areas of the city, including the Halloween parade and subway and rail stations.
“There’s no doubt we had two terror attacks in two months,” Cuomo said, calling both “lone-wolf attacks.” “There’s no doubt that tensions have been heightened.”
A 'See Something Say Something' primer
We may have extra boots on the ground to keep New Yorkers safe this holiday season, but law enforcement can’t see or prevent everything — that’s where you and “See Something Say Something” comes in.
“Any law enforcement professional will tell you that they’d rather hear a tip however innocuous a member of the public might think it is,” Chelsea A. Binns, assistant professor of security, fire and emergency management at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, told Metro in October. “Tips are always valued.”
But when should you say something and what, exactly, should you be on the lookout for?
Unusual items or situations to start, according to the Department of Homeland Security. This could be a vehicle parked in odd locations, unattended luggage or packages or other “out-of-the-ordinary situations.”
Another red flag is someone who is interested in a building’s operations, security procedures or staff shift changes beyond a normal curiosity.
You should alert authorities if you observe someone doing unusual surveillance, such as with binoculars or cameras or in a secluded location.
Once you’re ready to say something, be specific. Tell officials who or what you saw, when you saw it, where you saw it and why you found it suspicious — be sure to include as many details about the person, including their description, mannerisms or vehicle.
You can make your report via the “See Send” free app or call the state’s terrorism tips hotline at 1-866-SAFE-NEWS. Or you can always dial 911.
Finally, do not become personally involved in the situation, confront the person you feel is acting suspicious or reveal your suspicions to that person.