'No Specific Threat' in New York City, Says Police Commissioner
Mayor Michael Bloomberg clutched his prepared remarks as he walked into City Hall's Blue Room with Police Commissioner Ray Kelly on Tuesday afternoon, ready to address a small group of reporters. The room quickly silenced as the two approached the podium.
"There are no specific threats against New York City," Kelly said. "But in the aftermath of the horrific day that Boston experienced, we prepared as if yesterday was a prelude to an attack here in New York. That, indeed, has been our S.O.P — our Standard Operating Procedure — since 9/11."
Since Monday's explosions in Boston, which killed at least three people and injured over 130, the New York Police Department has heightened security at hotels and landmark locations in New York City. Over 1,000 counter-terrorism officers have been mobilized to the World Trade Center site, the Empire State Building, Times Square, among other locations.
Kelly said the NYPD received 77 reports in the last 24 hours of suspicious packages in New York City. A year ago around this time, the NYPD received 21 reports of suspicious packages in the city, Kelly said.
"We prepared for [the increase in reports], we increased our emergency service officers on patrol and we increased our bomb squad resources," Kelly said. "In fact, the bomb squad responded to two events yesterday neither of them were crank calls. The public was doing what we asked them to do."
Along with additional officers on patrol, many are searching bags and walking with bomb-sniffing dogs at Grand Central Terminal and various subway stations throughout the city.
"We have the second largest transit system in the world — over five million people a day travel that system," Kelly said. "We're doing bag searches in the system and we have increased that somewhat."
Because the specifics of the explosions in Boston remain unknown, the NYPD will continue to operate on high alert.
"We are going to maintain the posture that we have now at least for the immediate short-term," Kelly said.
Mayor Bloomberg spoke generally at the start of the press conference about New York City's developed anti-terrorism strategy.
"Over the past 11 years, we built the world's largest and most sophisticated local counter-terrorism operation," Bloomberg said. "We've dedicated a thousand members of the NYPD to counter-terrorism duties, and we've given them the tools and the training that they need to do their jobs."