As 9/11 dawns in New York City 13 years after the towers fell, the recent sparks of terrorism in the Middle East and the growing intricacy of the jihadist stratagem puts the NYPD on alert over security concerns at the first public opening of the Ground Zero Memorial on the anniversary of the tragedy. With the terrorists’ affiliates increasingly using mass marketing techniques, CBS reports, law enforcement officials rank New York high on the list of potential targets for militant groups. Large-scale events, such as the commemoration, pose a particular security risk for the police, requiring increased vigilance against any potential threats to the city’s safety and well-being.
Although still closed for the private morning ceremonies, the memorial plaza will dispense with the previous tradition of requiring tickets and a security screening before being allowed on the site for the 9/11 anniversary activities. The plaza will open for public viewing of the Tribute in Light® display from 6:00 pm to midnight. The memorial site is increasingly opening to public access as rebuilding efforts make more areas safe for public access. Visitors must still buy tickets to the underground memorial museum that opened its doors in May 2014. Day and evening access has been allowed on the plaza since the museum opening. However, the evening event will be a first at the memorial site.
The police will closely monitor the opening of the 9/11 public memorial event with a multi-layered approach to security measures aimed to snuff out any sparks of potential terrorist concern without. They are not revealing all the specifics of their plan for public safety. However, New York Police Commissioner William Bratton assures public visitors that they have bomb-sniffing dogs who can detect vapor trails, track a moving target, extra police personnel, in uniform and undercover. They also plan to use various radioactive detectors and other high-tech equipment. Intelligence specialists will be watching world events for any signs of terrorist activity headed for New York.
Bratton is confident that the NYPD is prepared to handle the event and prevent another tragedy like 9/11. With the introduction of ISIS and various militant splinter groups, Al Qaeda no longer has singular dominance in the terrorist activity around the world. With multiple players on the field spouting different ideologies, anticipating and combatting the terrorist danger gets to be a complicated matter for law enforcement officials.
The police have not released any information on a credible threat to the private or public commemoration services for the victims of 9/11. The ceremonies will honor the 3,000 dead in Manhattan, the Pentagon and on Flight 93, the plane that crashed in Pennsylvania as the passengers acted to thwart the terrorist attempt, as well as the six people killed in the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993. As is customary, the private event will give tribute to the dead by reading out their names. Joe Daniels, president of the 9/11 memorial stresses that it is important to remember those lost on this dark day in U.S. history every day.
One NY visitor expressed confidence that all of the available intelligence in the U.S. gives authorities more awareness of how world events can affect places far removed from one another in a relatively short time period. Greater global awareness in turn makes people more alert to their local environment and with increased perception comes greater security. The NYPD is doing all in its power to ensure that no sparks of terrorist concern come to mar the public opening at the 9/11 memorial so that the families, friends and community members of the deceased may continue to heal and remember their loved ones in peace.
by Tamara Christine Van Hooser