Governor Urges New Yorkers To Be Alert This Holiday Weekend

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Friday said New York State “remains a top target for terrorists” and urged residents to be on alert this holiday weekend amid recent terror attacks overseas and threats from ISIS and ISIS sympathizers.

His announcement came as police departments across the Tri-State Area were stepping up security for the holiday weekend – particularly for the Macy’s fireworks display on the East River Saturday.

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Cuomo said Friday that he has ordered enhanced monitoring of Fourth of July celebrations by the Office of Emergency Management after the federal government issued a terror warning for the holiday weekend.

“In response to the warning by the federal government, New York State is taking steps to increase monitoring and communication with our local, state, and federal emergency management and law enforcement partners through the holiday weekend,” Cuomo said in a statement.

Though there have been no reports of specific threats, 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 prompted extra caution, CBS2’s Matt Kozar reported.

“ISIS is very well outspoken about how much they hate our freedom — who we are as Americans — and July the 4th is one of those natural dates, while we’re celebrating freedom, for them to be able to find some way to be able to poke us in the eye,” said U.S. Sen. James Lankford (R-Oklahoma).

While officials said there are no credible threats, they have not taken any chances. The FBI has issued a warning to authorities nationwide about a possible terrorist attack.

“The intelligence community can’t fight this fight by themselves,” said former FBI Assistant Director Ron Hosko. “This is going to take bigger participation and awareness.”

On Saturday, July 4, as many as 7,000 extra NYPD officers will be patrolling the Macy’s fireworks display on the East River, where up to 3 million spectators are expected to attend.

“If you show up at the event you’re on the team. If you see something, say something,” NYPD Deputy Commissioner of Intelligence and Counter-Terrorism John Miller told reporters, including WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond. We want to hear about it.”

NYPD officials say the area will be swept for explosives, trash cans will be removed, snipers will be strategically placed and 100 mobile cameras will be on the ground and in the air.

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The NYPD will be closely monitoring its 7,000 security cameras, paying special attention to the ones in Lower Manhattan. The department has also deployed resources to Long Island City, Queens along the East River.

Police set up a mobile command center in Long Island City, and stationed officers throughout the area. The NYPD also set up barricades on the East River.

And on Staten Island, Harbor patrol is guarding the barges that are currently packed with fireworks, ready to launch tomorrow night.

“It’s good to know in the back of your mind that if something happens, they’re going to be there to protect you,” said Luis Okendo.

“I think NYPD does a great job of taking care of everyone here in the city, so we’ve got have faith in them,” added Jon Venick of Long Island City.

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.

“Our plan is to be, just heightened awareness to be out here looking for anything suspicious, suspicious boat traffic,” said Sgt. Jorge Puhlovsky with New Jersey State Police.

Many residents are not allowing any threat to deter their plans.

“I think the NYPD does a great job of taking care of everyone here in the city, so we have faith in them,” Long Island City resident Jon Venick told CBS2’s Janelle Burrell.

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. You can also call the New York State Terrorism Tips Line at 1-866-SAFE-NYS.

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