In the wake of terror attacks across the U.S. this year, security at New Year’s Eve celebrations is going to be tighter than ever.
In New York City, up to two million people are expected to brave bitterly cold temperatures and cram into Times Square to welcome 2018 but recent deadly terror attacks are changing the way police are handling security.
After a gunman opened fire from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel in Las Vegas, killing 58 people in October, reflective markers are being placed on the skyscrapers in Times Square so the location of a potential sniper may be quickly identified.
“We learned a lot from the Las Vegas incident. We learned how to engage and respond. The Las Vegas Police handled that excellently. Now we learn how to do it better,” security expert Nicholas Casale told Inside Edition.
After a terrorist set off a pipe bomb in a pedestrian passageway close to Times Square earlier this month, the city is using vapor wake dogs which are trained to sniff out explosives.
In a demonstration, police put fake explosives in a backpack and showed how the dogs can pick out the scent of an explosive and follow its vapor trail.
“We can scan thousands of people without stopping the flow of traffic,” one NYPD officer told Inside Edition. “They are the best bomb-detecting tool that we have.”
Eight people were killed on Halloween when a terrorist drove a truck into bikers in Manhattan. To stop that happening on New Year’s Eve, sanitation trucks filled with sand will cordon off a security zone a mile long and a quarter mile wide.
Similar security operations are underway in cities across America. In Pasadena, Calif., there is tighter security than ever around the Rose Parade.
“Starting at 10 o’clock Dec. 31 we are actually shutting down the entire parade route,” one official told Inside Edition. “We have not left any stone unturned.”
The New York City Police Commissioner said New Year’s Eve will be one of the best and most protected events in the world.