Although they stressed there was no specific or credible threat against New York City, Mayor de Blasio and Police Commissioner William Bratton ramped up security following the deadly terror bombings in Belgium -- a visible display of the city's newly enhanced anti-terrorism capabilities. NY1's Dean Meminger filed the following report.
The NYPD says it jumped into its counterterrorism action plan right away early Tuesday morning, after it was officially notified about the deadly terror attacks in Belgium.
"This isn’t something that we started thinking about between 3- and 4 a.m. This is something we think about every minute of every day," said NYPD Deputy Commissioner John Miller.
By the morning rush, the department’s recently created dedicated forces — the Strategic Response Group and Critical Response Command — were out in strength.
"The CRC unit, the SRG unit that a few months ago did not even exist, were fully employed this morning," said Police Commissioner William Bratton.
The deployment included heavy weapons and special weapons teams, as well as officers with K-9 dogs trained to move through crowds and detect suicide bombers on the move.
Officers also conducted random checks of bags at subway stations, in some cases, using equipment that can detect residue of explosive material.
"Criminals are less likely to strike when they see a lot of force being deployed," said Mayor Bill de Blasio.
The de Blasio administration began increasing and reorganizing the NYPD's counterterrorism abilities soon after taking office, but the effort gained steam after the Charlie Hebdo terrorism attacks in Paris 15 months ago. More than 1,000 officers have been added to the 1,100 already assigned to counterterrorism operations.
Over the last year, the NYPD has held well-publicized counter-terrorism drills, like one in a lower Manhattan subway station, to show off its new capabilities.
That message of preparedness was one that the mayor and the police commissioner sent with two joint news conferences, the second during the evening rush after they met with officers in the Times Square subway station.
“What the terrorists want is for us to change our ways," de Blasio said. "They want to see us in panic, and we refuse to be afraid, we refuse to change who we are."
The mayor says New Yorkers and any would-be terrorists will continue to see an increase of counterterrorism officers on the streets over the next few days.