As five barges launched fireworks tonight in New York City, dozens of trucks were being used for the first time nearby as protective barriers to keep spectators safe from terrorist attacks.
The New York City Police Department parked roughly 120 sand-filled dump trucks and blocker vehicles in Manhattan at strategic areas to prevent terrorists from using vehicles to ram unsuspecting crowds.
The decision to use the trucks to protect crowds follows deadly vehicle ramming attacks, the most publicized of which occurred in London, Berlin, and Nice, France. Muslim extremists had carried out those attacks.
“We have to pay attention to what’s going on not just in the city,” NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill told amny.com. “We have to pay attention to what’s going on in the nation and the world, and we saw what happened in Nice.”
In addition to using blocker vehicles, thousands of police—many of whom were undercover—circulated throughout crowded areas where millions of spectators gathered to watch fireworks launching from five barges positioned in the East River between East 24th and East 41st streets.
Police checkpoints were set-up near entrances to viewing areas where large bags and alcohol were prohibited. Bags were searched and radiation detectors used as an increased measure of security.
While the event was safe from attacks, police did have trouble with gunshot detectors that they had placed around the city. SpotShotter devices are designed to alert officers to areas where gunshots have been detected. However, many of the sensors, which are supposed to tell the difference between a gunshot and a fireworks explosion, malfunctioned and had officers responding to gunshot calls which turned out to be fireworks.