New York City is preparing to welcome nearly two million people to Times Square on New Year’s Eve.
According to the NYPD, nearly 7,000 police officers will be on patrol, some in plain clothes to blend in with the crowd.
New York is used to coordinating large-scale security operations, and this year, a new layer of security is being added.
Following terror attacks in Europe in which trucks were driven into crowds, the NYPD is placing 65 sand trucks weighing 40 tons each in strategic locations around Times Square for the first time. Police are also doubling the number of blocker vehicles.
“What’s the goal of having all of those very heavy sand trucks surrounding Times Square?” CBS News correspondent Anna Werner asked.
“It creates a hardened perimeter so it won’t allow a vehicle to get in there and replicate the Nice attack,” said Chief James Waters, who heads up the NYPD’s counterterrorism bureau.
The NYPD is also increasing its long-gun teams at security checkpoints and using helicopters and boats to monitor the area, something the department already does daily.
“I want the good people to know and have a level of confidence in the police, that we’re able to protect them. And I want the bad people to know, beware: New York City is not the place to try to do this,” Waters said.
There’s no known threat to the city, but Waters says the biggest concern is what he doesn’t know.
“That lone actor who flies under the radar … but has decided on his own, self-radicalized perhaps in his mother’s basement in his pajamas and decides ‘tonight’s the night,”’ Waters said.
The department says some revelers will start arriving as early as eight in the morning on New Year’s Eve Day to pack into viewing pens. This year, there will also be additional street closures a few blocks north of here near Trump Tower, though the NYPD says the president-elect’s home doesn’t pose any new security hurdles.