FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 16, 2013
MAYOR BLOOMBERG AND POLICE COMMISSIONER KELLY UPDATE NEW YORKERS ON MEASURES THE CITY IS TAKING FOLLOWING TERRORIST ATTACK IN BOSTON
The following are Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s remarks as delivered this afternoon from the Blue Room at City Hall:
“Good afternoon. I’m joined here by Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, and we’d like to update you on some of the steps that we’ve taken to protect New York City in the wake of the terrible, tragic bombings in Boston.
“First, let me say that our thoughts and prayers remain with the people of Boston, with all those who were victims of the attack, and with their families. The reports from the scene are truly awful, and the full impact of the attack is still emerging.
“Yesterday, I called Mayor Tom Menino to tell him that New York City would do everything possible to support Boston, now and in the days ahead. New Yorkers will never forget the extraordinary support that we received after the attacks of 9/11, and we will never hesitate to repay that generosity whenever the need arises.
“The fact that the attack occurred on Patriot’s Day in Boston I think just underscores its futility. The person or persons who carried out the attack – whether foreign or domestic – have no understanding of – and no appreciation of – what it means to be a patriot in this country.
“For more than 230 years, Americans have fought and died to defend the freedoms that shaped the Declaration of Independence. No foreign power, no domestic faction, and no terrorist group has ever stopped the march of freedom in this country. And none ever will.
“We don’t yet know much about the motives or the perpetrators behind the bombings in Boston, but we do know that this was an act of terror, and that terrorism remains a serious threat in our country. And that’s especially true here in New York City.
“Over the past 11 years, we have built the world’s largest and most sophisticated local counterterrorism operation. We’ve dedicated 1,000 members of the NYPD to counterterrorism duties, and we’ve given them the tools and the training that they need to do their jobs. That includes investing heavily in our counterterrorism infrastructure, including the Lower Manhattan Security Initiative, which we expanded to Midtown recently.
“The Boston bombing is a terrible reminder of why we’ve made these investments – including camera technology that could help us deter an attack, or investigate and apprehend those involved.
“For instance, our camera network now has the capacity to alert police to abnormalities it detects on the street, such as an abandoned package that is left on a corner. The NYPD has license plate readers, as well as chemical, biological, and radiological sensors to allow the NYPD to better detect and investigate threats.
“And the partnership we’ve formed with Microsoft allows our police officers to use the City’s broadband network to instantly analyze and respond to information streaming in from a wide range of sophisticated sources, including cameras and detection devices.
“Of course, no system is perfect, and no system can eliminate the threat of an attack. And that’s why it’s so important that we continually improve the system, especially as technology improves and allows us to expand our capabilities.
“We’ll also continue to push Washington to allocate Homeland Security funding based on risk – not pork-barrel politics. Secretary Janet Napolitano and the President have been important allies for us in that work, and I think the events in Boston underscore just how important it is.
“Since yesterday afternoon, we have fully mobilized our resources to protect New Yorkers from any related threats that might emerge.
“The NYPD quickly stepped-up security at strategic locations and critical infrastructure, including our subways yesterday as soon as we heard about the attacks. And we’ll leave those measures in place until we learn more about what actually happened in Boston.
“The NYPD is working with its state and federal law enforcement partners, especially the FBI, and it has helped deter and thwart numerous terrorist attacks in our city in the past. But we must remain vigilant for the future – and we are vigilant.
“The fact is there remain people who want to attack us. The moment that we let our guard down, the moment we get complacent, the moment we allow special interests to shape our security strategies is the moment that the terrorists are waiting for.
“As a country, we may not be able to thwart every attack; we saw that yesterday. But we must continue to do everything we possibly can to try. Our City government will continue to do that – and I’d ask all New Yorkers to be vigilant as well. Keep your eyes and ears open. If you see something suspicious – like an unattended package – report it to the police.
“And make sure that you receive news about an alert related to any emergency situation, as well as non-emergency situations like interruptions to City services, by signing up for Notify NYC which sends free alerts via text, email, or phone calls. You can sign up for Notify NYC by calling 311 or visiting NYC.gov.
“At the same time, we won’t let the attack in Boston keep us from our normal daily routines or enjoying the city that we love and that we so painstakingly built. I took the subway this morning, along with millions of other New Yorkers on their way to work. And that’s what we have to do: go about our day, keep the victims of this awful tragedy in our thoughts and our prayers. Go about our business. Let’s not forget what happened in the past and let’s prepare for the future.
“Today, I’ve directed all flags at City government buildings fly at half-staff in memory of those killed in Boston. In addition, we’re also flying the flag of the City of Boston at half-staff here at City Hall, and we’re displaying it inside City Hall as well as you can see.
“We stand shoulder-to-shoulder with our friends in Boston, as all Americans do.
“Now let me turn the floor over to Commissioner Ray Kelly.”
The following are Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly’s remarks as delivered:
“Thank you, Mr. Mayor. There are no specific threats against New York City. But in the aftermath of the horrific day that Boston experienced, we prepared as if yesterday was a prelude to an attack here in New York, and that indeed has been our SOP, our standard operating procedure, since 9/11.
“We reevaluate our deployments, we added resources where we thought they were necessary. We’ve been doing that since the attacks in London and in Madrid. We use both our intelligence analysis capability and just common sense.
“Yesterday we redeployed our critical resources, our CRVs as we call them, to hotels for the most part. We also patrolled houses of worship. We will continue to do that.
“And significant infrastructure locations in the city, iconic potential targets – Rockefeller Center, Empire State Building, locations such as that. As the Mayor mentioned, we have increased our coverage in the subways. We have the second largest transit system in the world, five million people a day travel that system. We’re doing bag searches in the system and we have increased that somewhat.
“We ask the public to be vigilant, particularly as far as packages are concerned. And in doing that, and after yesterday’s events, we anticipated that it would be an increase in reports of suspicious packages and indeed there was. We’ve had in the last 24-hour period 77 such reports. In a 24-hour period similar to this a year ago, we had 21 suspicious packages.
“So we prepared for that, we increased our emergency service officers on patrol, and we increased our bomb squad resources. In fact, the bomb squad responded to two jobs, two events yesterday. Neither of them were crank calls.
“The public was doing what we asked them to do, if you see something suspicious to give us a call – see something, say something, and that’s precisely what we wanted. We are certainly engaged in the information flow with the FBI through our Joint Terrorism Task Force. We have two New York City police officers, police sergeants, who are in the Boston Regional Intelligence Center. They’re up there, they’ve been up there since last evening. We have an excellent working relationship with the Boston Police Department. They are members of our operation sentry. We are going to maintain the posture that we have now at least for the immediate short-term.
“There are two major events, or runs, this weekend. There is the 5K run/walk to the memorial, 9/11 memorial on Sunday. Plus there is a four mile race in Central Park, Support the Parks or a title similar to that. And we are certainly evaluating, or reevaluating them, in light of the event that took place yesterday.
“We are vigilant, but we are vigilant for a good cause. If you look at just what happened here in New York City in the last few months, we have Ahmed Ferhani who was convicted of plotting to blow up synagogues, we had Mohammad Nafis who pled guilty to his plan to blow up the Federal Reserve Bank, we had the two Qazi brothers who were arrested in Miami for scouting out iconic targets here in New York City. And just yesterday we had Mohamed Alessa and Carlos Almonte plead guilty, or be sentenced I should say, to 20 years in prison based on the outstanding work on the part of a New York City undercover police officer. They were found guilty for material support. So we are going to continue to do everything we have been doing to make certain that the city remains as safe as possible. Thank you. Mr. Mayor.”
Marc La Vorgna/John McCarthy (212) 788-2958
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