ALBANY -- More police on the trains, heavy-weapon teams in the streets and more bag checks are some of the new precautions being implemented across New York City and its suburbs after the terrorist attack Tuesday in lower Manhattan.
City and state officials Wednesday detailed a series of steps they are taking to tighten security in the region, saying while there is no indication the attack was part of a larger plot, the additional measures are warranted.
"You will see increased police presence all throughout the metropolitan area," Gov. Andrew Cuomo said at a briefing with law enforcement officials and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.
"We are going to double the number of bodies at places of congregation – airports, tunnels, Penn Station, which has 600,000 people who go through it every day; the most heavily traveled transportation hub in the hemisphere."
Eight people were killed after suspect Sayfullo Saipov, a 29-year-old truck driver from Uzbekistan, plowed his rented truck into a bicycle path off the West Side Highway.
Cuomo, speaking earlier on CNN, said Saipov fit a "lone wolf model," appeared to be "associated with ISIS, and he was radicalized domestically."
“He did this in the name of ISIS,” John Miller, the NYPD's deputy commissioner of intelligence & counter-terrorism, said at the briefing. He said Saipov, who was captured by police, had been planning the plot for several weeks.
The state is increasing security around busy areas of the city: including airports, tunnels, bridges, Penn Station, Times Square and other large gathering areas.
Part of the West Side Highway south of 14th Street was expected to be closed through most of Wednesday as the investigation continues.
Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino said county officers had been dispatched to the city in the wake of the attack.
He said all around the world terrorism has bred in the suburbs of major cities.
"We're constantly vigilant here," Astorino said, before highlighting the county's counter-terrorism efforts, including air and marine units patrolling sensitive areas like the Gov. Mario M. Cuomo and Tappan Zee bridges and the Indian Point nuclear plant.
"It affects all of us," he added. "We are one family here in New York. We are all affected by this, and we're all working together not just to prevent future attacks, but to deal with this one."
Police said Sunday's New York Marathon will be a critical focus of boosted security because of the 51,000 runners and 2.5 million spectators through the five boroughs.
"We’ve enhanced security for this. It’s going to be a very safe event," said Police Chief Carlos Gomez, saying the police presence will be the largest ever for the marathon.
Overall, Gomez said commuters will see more police throughout the city and on the trains.
"New Yorkers and others who utilize our transit system will see a lot more officers; they’ll see a lot more uniforms," Gomez said. "They will see a lot more officers on the trains; they will see more officers on the platforms."
Police also urged New Yorkers to be vigilant in reporting any unusual activity they might see.
"If you see something out there that doesn’t look right, if it makes you uncomfortable, you have an obligation to make a call or to flag down a police car," said Police Commissioner James O'Neill.
"At least give us the opportunity to investigate that."
Cuomo and de Blasio said they had received phone calls from Acting U.S. Homeland Security Director Elaine Duke to held coordinate the security efforts, but not from Trump himself.
Cuomo said he was "not bothered” by not hearing from Trump directly, but criticized the president’s early Wednesday tweets attempting to connect the terror attack suspect’s entry to the U.S. with Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer’s position on immigration.
“I am bothered by an attempt by anyone to try and politicize the situation,” Cuomo said. “That plays right into the hands of the terrorist. They’re trying to disrupt. They’re trying to create mayhem. They’re trying to divide.”
He continued: “To politicize this event I think is wholly counterproductive.”
Includes reporting by Albany Bureau staff writers Natasha Vaughn and Jon Campbell, and Journal News/LoHud staff writer Matthew Coyne.
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