Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said on Tuesday there is no current threat the department considers to be credible ahead of Thursday’s Times Square New Year’s Eve celebration.
And that’s amid a threat level that has changed considerably over the year, because of the Islamic State’s increased activity outside of its strongholds of Iraq and Syria.
“We are not aware of any threat at this time that we deem credible,” Bratton said, speaking at a news conference near Times Square. “We have a constant threat analysis stream that we’re constantly reviewing.”
It is impossible to protect all soft targets, Bratton noted, but “we believe we are as prepared as anybody can be,”
He touted the department’s “enhanced” abilities to analyze threats and respond to situations quickly.
There will be close to 6,000 officers in and around Times Square for New Year’s Eve. Additional officers will also monitor other major events around the city, including the Coney Island fireworks and the Midnight Run in Central Park.
Some individual precincts will also be supplemented with overtime personnel, he said.
Specifically, Bratton said, Times Square will benefit from 500 to 600 more officers than past years, including many more officers that have heavy equipment, like long guns. As with past years, he said, people will be screened at two different check points: when they enter the Times Square area and then again when they enter the pens.
“We are aware that the threat picture has changed because of ISIS. It’s changed significantly from what it was a year ago or two years ago,” he said. “That’s why we have enlarged our capabilities here in the city with these additional units. We have a lot more personnel, we have a lot more personnel being trained on how to deal with these issues.”
Mayor Bill de Blasio urged New Yorkers not to be afraid to come to Times Square and celebrate.
“New York is ready,” de Blasio. “We’re the best prepared city in the country. We know how to do big events.”