New York bolsters security for July 4th weekend as thousands of tourists stream into city

Associated Press

The New York Police Department is stepping up security throughout the city and encouraging vigilance over the July Fourth weekend as thousands of tourists stream into the city for festivities.

NYPD officials said Friday that they plan to assign 7,000 officers to protect large crowds expected for the annual Macy's fireworks show on the East River and to deploy counterterrorism units to detect any potential threats.

Continue Reading Below

Along with the army of additional uniformed officers, New Yorkers and tourists could encounter bomb-sniffing dogs and heavily armed counterterrorism teams. Rooftop patrols and NYPD helicopters will keep an eye on the crowd as well.

Plainclothes officers will be assigned to blend into the crowd. Many officers will be wearing palm-size radiation detectors designed to give off a signal if they detect evidence of a dirty bomb, an explosive intended to spread panic by creating a radioactive cloud.

The bomb squad and another unit specializing in chemical and biological threats will sweep hotels and parking garages. The NYPD also will rely on a network of thousands of closed-circuit security cameras carpeting the roughly 1.7 square miles south of Canal Street, the subway system and parts of midtown Manhattan.

The security precautions had some visitors in Times Square on edge Friday.

"I'm nervous, but that's just me — I freak out about everything," said 21-year-old Damian Caruso of Australia.

Tong Utakrit, 30, of Houston, was more philosophical.

"If something happens, it happens," Utakrit said. "There's nothing I can do about it anyway."

___

Assoicated Press writer Colleen Long and AP Radio Correspondent Julie Walker contributed to this report.