Massive Force Of Up To 7,000 Police Officers Assigned To Protect Macy's Fireworks Show

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork)  As the NYPD ramped up security amid concerns over possible terrorist attacks, Commissioner Bill Bratton said Thursday that there are no specific threats against Fourth Of July celebrations.

The largest police force in the country is gearing up for one of the biggest holiday events of the year when thousands will gather for the July Fourth Macy’s fireworks display on the East River.

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Already Thursday night, a highly visible law enforcement presence was already in sight around the city.

Penn Station was under patrol by heavily-armed Amtrak police, and waterways such as the Hudson River and the area around the Statue of Liberty were under boat patrol.

“Go to the fireworks, bring your family, have a great time,” NYPD Deputy Commissioner of Intelligence and Counterterrorism John Miller said. “You’re going to be at one of the most well-secured events in the city and probably the safest place in the city.

“There’s going to be an excess of 6- to 7,000 police officers on that detail, which is more police than most cities have,” Miller added.

The security measures also include:

* The area swept for explosives, from both land and sea

* Sand-filled sanitiation trucks positioned as barriers

* Trash cans removed

* Manhole covers welded into place

* Snipers strategicially placed

* Spotters placed in the crowd

* 100 mobile cameras on land and in the air

Bratton called it “an enhanced initiative.”

“I would emphasize that at this time we don’t have intelligence about any specific threats directed against that event,” he said.

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Precautions also have been taken on the water. A New Jersey State Police patrol boat will be out over the weekend, with officers watching for anything out of the ordinary, CBS2’s Valerie Castro reported.

“Our plan is to be just heightened awareness; just to be out here looking for anything suspicious; any suspicious boat traffic; any person that just doesn’t look like they belong,” said New Jersey State Police Sgt. Jorge Puhlovsky.

New Jersey State Police marine units will be patrolling the Hudson River, including the waters around the Statue of Liberty. Their boats are equipped with detection technology such as night vision and infrared devices.

On land, a radiation detection vehicle will be monitoring traffic and searching parking lots for any signs of suspicious activity.

“It’s a passive detection system,” said New Jersey State Police Sgt. James Caprio. “It can detect anywhere from medical to illicit radiation.”

What has officials worried are the kinds of things you cannot predict — car bombs, radicalized lone wolves with weapons or homemade explosives, CBS2’s Marcia Kramer reported.

“I don’t think they’re capable of a large-scale attack, but certainly an attack that could kill, maim, wound hundreds of people, and for me that’s large-scale enough. Not the magnitude of 9/11, but certainly the magnitude of Boston Marathon,” said Rep. Peter King, R-Long Island.

ISIS often communicates with its follows on social media, sometimes sending out 90,000 posts a day. So in addition to the cops you will see on the street there will be actions you won’t see that could be just as important, Kramer reported.

“We’re monitoring social media because it has become a place for tipping and cueing for terrorist activity,” Miller said.

The terror attacks in Kuwait, France and Tunisia last week, a wave of attacks in Egypt on Wednesday and the demand by ISIS for attacks against the enemy during Ramadan, which ends July 17, have also prompted the extra caution.

There have also been a series of terror-related arrests in the Tri-State Area, including 23-year-old Alaa Saadeh of West New York, New Jersey, earlier this week.

He is accused of providing material to support ISIS and planning to move to Jordan to help the cause. Two of his alleged co-conspirators from Queens and Staten Island were detained in recent weeks as well.

“The good news is we’ve been able to clear all of those up before the events on the Fourth,” Bratton said.

Police will be extra vigilant, but are urging spectators to be aware as well. Anyone who sees anything suspicious is asked to call 877-NYC-SAFE.

“I’ve been living here since before 9/11 and so it’s kind of part of the way of life,” Bronx resident Rosemary Almonte told CBS2’s Janelle Burrell. “There’s cops everywhere and sometimes they carry machine guns.”

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“I’m really not going to do anything differently,” added Upper East Side resident Jeremy Lieberman. “I’m just going to have fun like always on July Fourth.”