New Years Eve Security Coast to Coast
In the wake of multiple terror attacks and mass shootings this year, some of the biggest New Year’s Eve celebrations in the United States are increasing their security.
- By Jessica Davis
- Dec 29, 2017
In the wake of multiple terror attacks and mass shootings this year, some of the biggest New Year’s Eve celebrations in the United States are increasing their security. Las Vegas and the ball drop at midnight in Times Square draw some of the largest crowds in the U.S. on New Year’s Eve, but attacks in those cities earlier this year require a second look at security in order to keep visitors safe.
After the Oct. 1 mass shooting that left 58 dead and more than 500 injured, Nevada lawmakers approved recording funding to ensure safety on the Vegas strip this New Year’s Eve. Las Vegas attracts almost 350,000 people for New Year’s Eve each year.
A total of $357,000 will be spent on security, including 358 National Guard troops. The figure is more than double the 160 troops who were deployed last year, and the funding is almost three times that of the $120,000 that was allocated for security in 2016.
“After Oct. 1, we all agreed we needed to relook at that and give it a different look based on new analysis from that (shooting) event,” said Caleb Cage, chief of Nevada’s Division of Emergency Management.
In addition to the National Guard, every officer with the Metropolitan Police force will be on duty, and buses and steel bollards will be used as roadblocks.
Clark County Deputy Fire Chief John Steinbeck has categorized New Year’s Eve 2017 as a Special Event Assessment Rating (SEAR) 1, the highest level an event can be designated. SEAR designations come from the Department of Homeland Security, and level 1 is usually used for events with significant attendance and attention nationally, such as the Super Bowl. Last year’s rating was designated as a SEAR 2.
New York City
New York City officials have also been reevaluating security during the holiday season in the wake of a botched suicide bombing in a subway corridor near Port Authority on Dec. 11. As a result of the terror attack, people will see an increased police presence around mass transit and public gatherings, said John Miller, deputy commissioner for intelligence and counterterrorism. He did not elaborate on specific measures.
Some security measures were visible shortly after the attack, such as heavily armed NYPD counterterrorism personnel near the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree. There are also roadblock barriers on the street to prevent vehicle attacks like the Oct. 31 truck attack that killed eight people.
"The NYPD normally increases the security presence in the areas of Times Square and Rockefeller Center, as well as other locations where there is an increase of activity, during the holiday season," the New York Police Department said. "In light of the recent terror incident in Times Square there will be additional high-visibility patrol coverage in the area. Other enhanced security measures will be implemented as well.”
Approximately 1 million people attended the Times Square ball drop for New Year’s Eve 2016. Before entering the viewing areas, which are barricaded by the NYPD, all attendees of the event have to go through security checks where they will be searched with a handheld wand.
According to Times Square’s official website, plainclothes officers will be deployed throughout the New Year’s Eve event. Radiation detectors will be deployed for use, mobile field forces will be available for immediate response if needed and rooftop posts will be positioned along the event as well as overseeing access points. Each post will also receive special instructions about suspicious packages and monitoring crowds.