NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Security was beefed up in New York City on Monday night, in the aftermath of twin explosions near the finish line of the Boston Marathon earlier in the day.
NYPD Deputy Police Commissioner Paul Browne told WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb that the city is stepping up security at hotels, as well as other prominent locations, through deployment of the NYPD’s critical response vehicles.
Browne added that the additional security would remain until more is learned about the explosions.
“We are in the crosshairs of terrorists and we don’t believe the threat has diminished very much. We don’t know the genesis of this; we don’t know who’s responsible for it, but we sort of have to have a 360-degree perimeter in this city,” NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly told CBS Evening News anchor Scott Pelley on Monday night.
Kelly said because of past attacks and plots against the city, he expects New Yorkers to stay vigilant.
“New Yorkers should be alert. We ask them to be aware of their surrounding and [if they] see anything suspicious, call our resources, call 911, call 311 if it’s not an immediate emergency,” Kelly told Pelley.
On the heightened alert, Kelly said, “This is what we do, we’ve done it in the past and we’re doing it right now.”
Sources told CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer the main focus will be on Manhattan hotels, because that’s where the Boston explosions took place. But there will also be increased security in Times Square, where the city has had a terror alert in the past, and at synagogues, monuments, landmarks like the Empire State Building and all the bridges and tunnels.
As CBS 2’s Alice Gainer reported, a line of patrol cars was set up in Times Square to remind everyone that vigilance is the top priority. More than a half-dozen NYPD cruisers were lined up along Seventh Avenue between 41st and 42nd streets, WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell reported.
In Times Square, the attacks brought back some scary memories for those who were in New York for the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, 1010 WINS’ Sonia Rincon reported.
Uniformed officers were posted outside the W Hotel in Times Square, as well as at LaGuardia Airport, Grand Central Terminal and Penn Station.
Members of the counter-terrorism unit were also seen entering a Communication Division Command Post in Times Square, Haskell reported.
Uniformed officers were to be stationed on every block going north from 42nd Street and Seventh Avenue, Haskell reported.
Boston Police said at least three people were killed and 144 were wounded in the explosions. An 8-year-old child was among those killed, WBZ in Boston reported.
The explosions went off within seconds of each other about three hours after the winners crossed the finish line, according to officials.
It wasn’t immediately clear what caused the explosions and no group claimed responsibility.
Anthony Roman of Long Island-based security consulting firm Roman & Associates told WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond that authorities in large cities are typically on the highest alert level for events like a marathon.
“They remove all of the garbage cans, the mailboxes, they weld the manhole covers shut. They have spotter teams on the roofs, sniper teams. The camera system, as I said, is robust and the software analytics, robust. And there are a tremendous number of officers and concentrated manpower placed at that scene,” Roman said.
According to CBS 2’s Kramer, there is a lot of significance to domestic terrorists exploding bombs this week. Monday is IRS tax deadline day, and Patriots Day in Boston. The anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing and the end of the 50-day Waco siege are on April 19. The anniversary of the Columbine High School shooting, and Adolf Hitler’s birthday are on April 20.
Following the fatal blasts, Mayor Michael Bloomberg released the following statement:
“As law enforcement authorities investigate today’s explosions in Boston, I ask all New Yorkers to keep the victims and their families in your thoughts and prayers. I have spoken with Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, and the NYPD has stepped up security at strategic locations and critical infrastructure, including our subways. Some of the security steps we are taking may be noticeable, including deployment of Critical Response Vehicles and additional police personnel, and others will not be. We have 1,000 members of the NYPD assigned to counter-terrorism duties, and they – along with the entire NYPD and the investments we have made in counter-terrorism infrastructure – are being fully mobilized to protect our city,” Bloomberg said.
Bloomberg is among the local officials sending his prayers to those affected by the Boston Marathon blasts.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo also took to Twitter to offer his thoughts and prayers to the city of Boston and the entire state of Massachusetts.
City Councilman Peter Vallone posted his condolences on his Facebook page and noted that there is no credible threat against New York.
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority also announced its police department will conduct additional patrols and bag inspections in the wake of the Boston explosions. The MTAPD patrols Metro-North and LIRR trains.
The transit agency released the following statement:
“All security personnel will remind all employees to be vigilant. The increased coverage will continue until we fully understand the cause of the explosions in Boston. NYPD is also on alert and indicated they will give additional attention to the subway system.”
There is also additional security on NJ TRANSIT because of the situation in Boston.
“As a result of today’s tragic events, NJ TRANSIT is currently in a heightened state of alert,” NJ TRANSIT spokesman John Durso, Jr. told WCBS 880. “There have been no specific threats made against our transit system at this time. However, as a precaution, NJ TRANSIT Police have deployed both uniformed and plain-clothes officers to further patrol our system and keep our customers safe.”
Durso urged passengers to remain alert and report any suspicious activity by calling 1-888-TIPS-NJT (1-888-847-7658).
Heavy Police Presence At Barclays Center
There was also heavier security at Barclays Center, where the Brooklyn Nets played Washington, CBS 2’s Hazel Sanchez reported.
Fans said they were excited for the game, but the tragedy in Boston was not far from their minds. Hundreds of fans said they were more than a little nervous.
“Now, it kind of makes you aware of, ‘Oh my God, I’m coming here. That just happened,'” one fan said. “Is it going to happen here? Is it a possibility? If not here, maybe somewhere else?”
Added Tracy Crew of Harlem, “I have faith, and I just have to hope that tonight’s a good night, and it’s a peaceful night going forward.”
Kevin Kennedy and his wife, Jennifer, of Rockville Centre, brought their sons for their very first pro basketball game, but the thrill of the experience was hampered by what happened at the marathon.
“I’m a little nervous and felt a little uncertain about coming. But we figured, that’s why people do these kinds of things, so you don’t want to bow down to it,” said Jennifer Kennedy. “You want to keep going and keep living so.”
“Every time you go through the turnstiles, and you’re patted down and they check your pockets, it’s like the airports. You can’t ever not think about it,” added Kevin Kennedy. “But if we don’t go to these events then we give in.”
Some questioned the necessity of it all.
“It’s good in aspects, but if someone’s going to get somebody. They’re going to get them no matter what they do,” said Warren Wilber of New Hampshire.
But Manny Gomez, president of MG Security Services, said the heightened security is a must.
“It’s absolutely necessary, given that we haven’t really determined exactly what happened in Boston, who did it, what the outcome is ultimately going to be,” he said.
Gomez is a retired FBI agent and NYPD officer, and a former U.S. Marine. He explained how such an attack could have happened despite heightened security leading up to the marathon.
“This is the first incident that they’ve been successful since 9/11 — we’re talking 12 years,” he said. “Obviously, the intelligence failed in this incident. Usually we’ve been able to catch these individuals before.”
Please stay with CBSNewYork.com for more on this developing story…