NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Mayor Bill de Blasio went to Washington, D.C. Tuesday for meetings about city security and counter-terrorism.
De Blasio, Police Commissioner Bill Bratton and NYPD Deputy Commissioner of Intelligence and Counter-Terrorism John Miller met with the heads of Homeland Security and the FBI.
The meeting comes a day after Sen. Charles Schumer proposed making trespassing on critical infrastructure like major bridges or important buildings punishable by up to five years in prison.
The proposal was made in the wake of several recent trespassing cases in the city.
Over the summer, two German artists climbed the Brooklyn Bridge, switching the American flags with white washed versions.
Berlin-based Mischa Leinkauf and Mattias Wermke said they replaced the flags on top of the bridge with bleached-out versions as a tribute to public art.
“The stuntman placed aluminum pans over the floodlights to keep them from being seen and for awhile, it was scary,” Schumer said Monday.
A Russian tourist was then arrested in August after climbing the Brooklyn Bridge.
Yaroslav Kolchin was seen walking back and forth on the landing, taking photos with his iPhone, police said. They said once a police aviation unit was hovering at an altitude next to the tower, Kolchin began to descend safely down the same way he had climbed up.
He was met by police at the security gate, where he was taken into custody without further incident.
Also in August, an activist group unfurled a Palestinian flag on the span of the Manhattan Bridge.
In March, 16-year-old Justin Casquejo was charged after climbing to the top of the World Trade Center. He admitted in July to breaking a city misdemeanor law against scaling tall buildings without permission.
About a week after his trade center climb, three extreme-skydiving fans were arrested for a leap off the tower last year.
“While individuals like this may have meant no arm, their acts put commuters and first responders at risk,” Schumer said. “They also inspire copycats who may have much more evil plans in mind.”
Critical infrastructure is defined by the Patriot Act as systems and assets so vital to the U.S., that the incapacity or destruction to them would have a debilitating effect.
“That would be a bridge, a power plant, the air vents to one of our tunnels,” Miller said.
Miller and Schumer said the new legislation will help serve as a deterrent.
“When stunts like this occur, the New York City trespassing law has a maximum of one year and it’s often three months,” Schumer said. “That’s not enough punishment to deter this behavior. It’s time to change that.”
Schumer said this legislation is based on another federal law protecting railroads.
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