NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — While there are no specific threats to New York City, the NYPD said it Thursday that it was closely monitoring the situation in Barcelona and “redeploying assets accordingly” after a terror attack left 13 dead and more than 100 injured.
A white van crashed into a crowd on a sidewalk in Barcelona’s historic Las Ramblas district, a tourist hub often compared to Times Square.
“On behalf of all New Yorkers, my heart goes out to the victims of the apparent terrorist attack in Barcelona and their loved ones,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a statement. “This cowardly and senseless attack is sickening and goes against everything we believe. Those who seek to reap fear and hate will never succeed. New York stands in solidarity with the people of Spain – as they have done for us.”
“The safety and security of New Yorkers is our top priority. We are in close contact with federal and local officials, and we will remain vigilant. I have directed state law enforcement officials to step up security and patrols at high-profile locations across New York, including our airports, bridges, tunnels and mass transit systems.”
Photos: Barcelona Terror Attack
Cuomo also tweeted, saying: New York extends it’s sympathy and support to the victims and the citizens of Barcelona.”
As CBS2’s Tony Aiello reported, the message from police Thursday was that people should go about their business, and the NYPD will take care of the business of securing the city.
There was a visible increased police presence at Times Square. Counterterrorism officers were carrying long guns, and many police officers who routinely patrol the tourist hotspot have been instructed to be extra-vigilant.
As a precaution, police teams have also been posted at sites linked to the government of Spain, including the tourist office on 42nd Street across from Grand Central, and the United Nations mission on the East Side.
Terror expert Manny Gomez said the show of force accomplishes several goals.
“It is a reassure the public type of thing. Whenever there’s a plot activated like in Barcelona, the NYPD always steps up their game,” Gomez said. “They’re also sending a message out to that lone wolf that may be somewhere in the city thinking about doing something similar.”
The NYPD takes a multi-pronged approach to fighting terror – working to disrupt plots, but also to harden targets. In response to the drugged drover who plowed into a Times Square crowd three months ago, numerous concrete barriers were put up to better protect pedestrians.