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New York boosts security prior to New Year’s events

Starting at noon on Dec. 31, those seeking entrance to Times Square will need to pass through police checkpoints and security screenings.

A typical New Year's Eve celebration in Times Square, New York. Credit: Anthony Quintano via Wikimedia Commons.
A typical New Year's Eve celebration in Times Square, New York. Credit: Anthony Quintano via Wikimedia Commons.

New York City has seen as many as 500 protests this year following the terror attacks by Hamas in southern Israel on Oct. 7, which resulted in 1,200 people murdered and more than 100 hostages still being held captive in the Gaza Strip. To that end, local law enforcement has been ramped up and preparing for another potential demonstration on Dec. 31, New Year’s Eve.

Richard Esposito, former deputy commissioner of the New York City Police Department, said that “the variety of tools—whether robots, drones, bomb-sniffing dogs—all those things are in play.” He said police would focus on balancing free-speech rights with preserving “other people’s freedom of enjoying themselves.”

The NYPD reports that to date, it has not received any specific credible threats against the celebration to ring in 2024.

New York City Mayor Eric Adams, who previously served as an NYPD officer, called it a “Herculean task” to protect the number of people anticipated to attend New Year’s events while not being too obtrusive. Tom Harris, president of the Times Square Alliance, warned potential disruptors of the celebration that “you’re probably not gonna be successful, and if you are, you’re gonna be arrested, so stay home and protest someplace else.”

Starting at noon on Sunday, those seeking entrance to Times Square will need to pass through police checkpoints and security screenings.

In related news, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul said agencies including the Division of State Police, New York National Guard, Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services, Metropolitan Transportation Authority, and Port Authority of New York and New Jersey will have increased staffing throughout the holiday weekend. Security will also be augmented at airports, bridges, tunnels and mass-transit systems, she stated.

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