Commissioner Raymond Kelly answers questions after a press conference for New Yorkers at City Hall following the Boston bombings. (Media credit: Loretta Chin)
By LORETTA CHIN
Originally published on Brooklyn News Service April 17, 2013. Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Commissioner Raymond Kelly held a press conference on Tuesday to allay the fears of New Yorkers in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings while outlining the steps being taken to protect the city just in case.
“There are no specific threats against New York City,” said Kelly. “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.”
Bloomberg echoed this: “Since yesterday afternoon, we have fully mobilized our resources to protect New Yorkers from any related threats that might emerge.”
Deploying some 1000 extra officers the Police Department stepped up security in such strategic locations as subways, hotels, airports and iconic locations such as Rockefeller Center, the Empire State Building, the World Trade Center site and Statue of Liberty.
Bloomberg also said that the city has invested in camera technology that can detect an abandoned package left on a street corner. There are also license plate readers as well as chemical, biological and radioactive sensors to allow police to better detect and investigate threats.
He said that the department has formed a partnership with Microsoft to use the city’s broadband network to immediately analyze the photos and sensors.
“The fact is, there remain people who want to attack us,” said Bloomberg. “The moment that we let our guard down, the moment we get complacent, the moment we allow special interests to shape our security strategies is the moment that the terrorists are waiting for.”
He urged New Yorkers to sign up for free alerts by text, email or phone call by calling 311 or by visiting www.nyc.gov.
The Boston flag was added to the New York and American flags in the background behind the mayor and the commissioner at the City Hall news conference.
“We should stand shoulder to shoulder with our friends in Boston,” said Bloomberg, who has directed that all flags in city government buildings be flown at half-staff, as well as the flag of the city of Boston flown outside of City Hall.
The Commissioner reported that the public responded to requests to be vigilant and to report suspicious packages, showing an increase from 77 reports of suspicious packages in a 24-hour period, compared to 20 reports for the same period a year ago.
Kelly said that two major events were scheduled this weekend, a run/walk to the 9/11 memorial and a four-mile race in Central Park. Police officials would add security as necessary.
Although the mayor encouraged New Yorkers to remain vigilant and to keep their eyes and ears open, he also told them not to allow the attack in Boston to keep them from their normal daily routines, or from enjoying the city.
The Mayor said that he took the subway to work in the morning.
“That’s what we have to do,” he said. “Go about our day. Keep the victims of this awful tragedy in our thoughts and our prayers. Go about our business and let’s not forget what has happened in the past, and prepare for the future.”