Eight people were killed and almost a dozen injured when a 29-year-old man in a Home Depot rental truck plowed into a popular cycling and pedestrian pathway in Lower Manhattan near the World Trade Center on Tuesday.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio called the incident an “act of the terror.” Authorities also found a note inside the suspect’s truck claiming the attack was made in the name of ISIS.
The use of trucks as a weapon has become a promoted tactic among Islamic extremists over the past few years. So far in 2017, there have been 11 incidents of vehicular assaults, four of those attacks have been claimed by ISIS.
New York Police Department (NYPD) Deputy Commissioner of Intelligence and Counterterrorism John Miller said Tuesday that police officers have already been visiting various truck rental companies such as Home Depot, Ryder, and Amerco’s U-Haul over the past two years to inform workers of these potential terrorists threats.
“We did extensive outreach to the truck rental business. We visited over 148 truck rental locations in this area…and talked about suspicious indicators [and] ways to come forward,” Miller said during a press conference. “The industry has had a high level of awareness on this matter from the NYPD.”
Yet, the latest terrorism attack is forcing some to question whether more regulations need to be established for renting vehicles. However, many experts say it won’t help.
Raheem Kassam, author of “No Go Zones,” and Muslim-born Islamic extremism expert tells FOX Business that “van control” or increased regulations and scrutiny of those hiring vehicles is only going to make matters worse.
“It is, to be quite blunt, the height of stupidity,” Kassam says. “Instead of focusing in on immigration, surveillance, what’s happening in mosques, and policing, the political establishment is now going to try and convince us that hiring a car needs to be as hard as getting a degree in astrophysics.”
Mustafa Tameez, a Muslim-American Democratic political consultant and former Bush Administration DHS official agrees, saying the reason Sayfullo Saipov, the suspect in the attack, was able to rent a truck without any special attention may have been because he has a commercial license from his work as a former Uber and truck driver.
Tameez also adds that we need to “understand that whenever we harden the targets,” like adding stricter rental car laws, terrorists will just change their tactics.
In a statement to FOX Business, a spokesperson for Home Depot said the company is focused right now “on assisting with the investigation and what our policies are.”