NYPD Steps Up Presence As New Yorkers Express Sadness Over Deadly Paris Attacks
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) -- The NYPD has beefed up security across New York City in the wake of the deadly terror attacks on Paris.
Police are doing extra patrols and standing guard at the French Consulate.
"People will know the NYPD is watching," Mayor Bill de Blasio said. "You'll see additional checking of bags in subways at select locations and those locations will change regularly. The point is, we're always in a state of vigilance, but we've added additional capacity to keep people safe."
The mayor met with the French Consul General at the French Consulate Saturday.
"We thanked the NYPD officers who are there protecting the consulate," de Blasio said.
As CBS2's Ilana Gold reported, flags have been lowered to half-staff at the French Consulate on the Upper East Side as heavily armed anti-terror forces make their presence known outside the building.
"This is something we've spent a great deal of time preparing for," said Deputy Commissioner of Intelligence and Counterterrorism John Miller. "We have three rings of protection guarding New York City 24 hours a day."
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And in Times Square, Hercules teams have been patrolling the crowds.
Russell, who was walking through the area on his way home from work Saturday morning, told 1010 WINS' Roger Stern he still feels safe.
"I think that what's going on over there can reflect what's going on over here, but I just keep an eye open and hope that they're watching over us -- the police and everybody that's supposed to be watching over us is doing their duty," he said.
Police are also keeping a close eye on landmarks and high traffic areas as well as more out of the way places like Webster Hall, an East Village concert venue, CBS2's Dave Carlin reported.
"I never really see cops here," said Staten Island resident Nick Cruz.
Former FBI agent Manny Gomez said the coordinated terror attacks on Paris reveal vulnerabilities there.
"What worries me is that nobody was able to know anything about it until it happened," said Gomez.
Miller said he believes the terrorists are using new technologies, including apps that are harder to listen in on.
"These messages have a self-destruct mode that erase right after read," Miller said. "We will likely find that these commercial applicants were used."
"The enemy is always stepping up their game we have to step up our game," said Gomez.
And while the FBI and Homeland Security closely monitors the events in Paris, local law enforcement stresses there is no threat against New York City or the United States at this time.
De Blasio is urging the public not to panic.
"If anything happens that we need to inform the people of this city about, we will," the mayor said.
In an exclusive interview with 1010 WINS Friday night, de Blasio urged New Yorkers to remain vigilant and alert authorities to any suspicious activity.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the State Police, National Guard and other agencies were on a heightened state of alert.
"In times of darkness, we confront the hatred that drives terrorism and the tremendous pain and loss it can cause. Yet we also know that terrorism will never prevail – it never has. We grieve deeply for the people of Paris, as New Yorkers who have experienced the same pain and loss firsthand in an attempted assault on our values of liberty and equality," Cuomo said. "Yet we are stronger now in our commitment to those values than we have ever been before. Today, we are one – we stand shoulder to shoulder in rejecting extremism, condemning violence, and working to achieve a better and brighter future for all."
Meanwhile, many in New York have expressed sadness and solidarity with France in wake of the attacks.
Cardinal Timothy Dolan issued a statement calling the attacks "unspeakable and horrific crimes."
"I join with our Holy Father and with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in condemning these brutal acts of terrorism, and praying for those who were killed and injured, along with their families and loved ones."
As WCBS 880's Sophia Hall reported, on both sides of the street near the French Consulate, an outpouring of grief can be seen as dozens of flowers, candles and long hand written notes were placed on the ground.
"It just hurts your heart. It just breaks your heart and we hold them in our hearts," said one Upper East Side woman.
One resident said her heart hurts, especially since she lived in Paris for many years and has many friends there.
"So I wanted to come by the French house, just wanted to see the tributes," she said.
PHOTOS: France, World Mourn Deadly Paris Terror Attacks
On Friday night, French exchange students gathered in Union Square for a candlelight vigil.
In Carroll Gardens, also known as little Paris, hearts are broken.
"I'm scared because we have family in France and the face of the world is changing today," said Jean-Jacques Bernat.
Bernat and his wife Leslie moved from France 19 years ago, they now own a French bistro where they've been watching the news from their home country on TV.
Customers also gathered at the bistro to watch the French soccer match where an explosion could be heard Friday night.
"We are very sad, very sad, and very angry. And I feel for these families and all the lost ones," said Leslie Bernat.
The NYPD is also watching the neighborhood closely, Gold reported. A gesture that is making the community feel more comfortable during this time of uncertainty.
The United States and countries around the world are showing solidarity with France following the attacks, including New York City where the World Trade Center spire was lit in the colors of the French flag Friday night.
Social media is awash with public buildings around the world lit up in the French colors of blue, red, and white. Among those were the Sydney Opera House in Australia and the Christ the Redeemer statue in Brazil.
London's Tower Bridge will be illuminated in the colors of France's flag Saturday night.
At least 129 people were killed in the attacks on Paris Friday night. A U.S. law enforcement official confirmed at least one American is among the dead.
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