NEW YORK – In the wake of the Berlin truck attack, the police departments in the US are making a show of force in places where many people gather during the Christmas season.
In New York City, police sent heavily armed counter-terrorism officers wait in crowded pop-up christmas markets in Union Square, Bryant Park and Columbus Circle, just one hour after the news broke Tuesday about the massacre in Berlin, where a stolen truck slammed into a crowd and killed 12 people.
The police also has a program to encourage truck rental companies for the reporting of suspicious interactions with people who want to rent vehicles that can be used in an attack.
Mayor Bill de Blasio called the precautions “a very sad reality.”
In Chicago, the police parked their car diagonally in the corners of Daley Plaza to block any vehicle access to a christmas market. In San Francisco, motorcycle and mounted the horse of the units were to patrol high-traffic shopping areas.
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Frieder Frotscher, who owns a stand that sells German steins, the trip to Chicago market, Sachsen, Germany, for the past 21 years. He said he never considered closing after what happened Monday.
“I can see all the increase of the safety,” he said. “If we don’t come, that means that we would have reached the decision that they (terrorists) want.”
In New York, Columbus Circle seller said that he does not think about the attack in Berlin.
“If something happens, such as that it can happen anywhere,” said Armand, Altan, 40. “We are open. There is no X-ray cameras, or the check of everyone. Someone could walk in with the vest, or the backpack, you do not know. So if we think so, we should not be out of the house.”
The big cities are the strengthening of pavements since Sept. 11 attacks, the installation of bollards and concrete planters, designed to prevent vehicles from driving in pedestrian or the side of a building. s of Times Square and a two-block stretch of Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the White House are closed to traffic for years, partly as a precaution against car bombs.
A recent posting in an English-language Islamic State magazine that this year’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade “is an excellent goal” for a truck to fall. That caused enough concern that the police used dozens of sand-filled dump trucks blocking the streets along the parade route.
The NYPD program in which the outreach to the carriers was performed in July, after a man drove a rented, refrigerated truck with a weight of around 20 tonnes in a crowd in Nice, France.
Since then, the NYPD has achieved over 140 rental companies and seven truck driving schools in the city, giving them the phone numbers of detectives and encourages them to use them, said Lt. Luke Miller, who runs the Intelligence Department and program.
The NYPD has received several calls from truck rental operations since the Berlin attack, Lucas said Wednesday. The companies were the check, not offering tips, “but that is just the nature of the communication and interaction we want,” he said.
Jake Jacoby, president of the Truck Renting and Leasing Association in Alexandria, Virginia, said his group has worked with the Transportation Security Administration and other federal agencies to combat terror.
The group is divided into a brochure to its members about how it should be suspicion with the tenants. They are an attempt to use cash instead of a credit card and to ask if a truck can be modified to carry heavier loads or go faster.
Anyone hiking without a reservation should also provide additional control and may possibly be averted, Jacoby said. The group even suggests to ask the customers how they plan to make use of a truck, ” he said.
“If they have difficulty answering that question, that is a red flag,” he said.