US Cities Step Up Security at Christmas Gatherings After Terrorist Truck Attack on Berlin Market Which Killed 12 Shoppers
Jennifer Newton, Daily Mail, December 20, 2016
Cities across America are stepping up security at Christmas events following a terrorist truck attack on a Berlin market that has left 12 people dead.
Police are boosting their presence at holiday villages and major sites around cities such as New York, Chicago and Boston as the US remains on high alert.
It comes after a Christmas market in the German capital was deliberately targeted by a man, who is believed to have used a hijacked 25-tonne lorry to murder 12 people and injure 48 more.
And in New York, police confirmed highly trained specialist units and its anti-terror squad would be deployed to high profile locations around the city.
Sites expected to have a high armed police presence include the Winter Village market in Bryant Park, the Christmas market near Columbus Circle and the festive stalls in Union Square.
Also under close surveillance by the security services are the world-famous Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center, Times Square and Herald Square, home to department store Macy’s.
In a statement, the NYPD said: ‘The NYPD is monitoring the events in Germany and around the world.
‘The Department has moved highly trained teams, including the Critical Response Command, to high profile locations around New York City.
‘In the coming days, we will look to learn more about what occurred to inform the NYPD’s operations, deployments, and training of officers.’
Meanwhile, Chicago Police also confirmed they would be ramping up their presence at the annual Christmas market in in an outdoor plaza in downtown Chicago.
Chicago Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said that although there is no specific threat to the city, officers would be vigilant around Christkindlmarket event.
He added that extra foot and bike patrols would be added to boost market security alongside specialized units.
Meanwhile in Boston, the city’s mayor Martin J. Walsh confirmed barriers would be put in place in a bid to protect the ‘Boston Winter’ holiday market in City Hall Plaza.
The city has already been the scene of a terror attack after attackers targeted the Boston Marathon in April 2013, killing three people.
But Mr Walsh said that police would always be on high alert in the city and would also be monitoring social media.
He told the Boston Herald: ‘Part of what we want to try to do with technology that we’re being criticized for is being able to look on Twitter and look on Facebook just to make sure something like this that might be planned, that we can break it up.
‘The police are going to continue, not just through the holiday season, but through every season, to make sure the people of Boston are safe.’
News of the increased security comes after President-elect Donald Trump called the incident in Berlin a ‘horrifying terror attack’ and added it would push the US and its ‘freedom-loving partners’ to take on ISIS.
In a statement he said: ‘Our hearts and prayers are with the loved ones of the victims of today’s horrifying terror attack in Berlin.
‘Innocent civilians were murdered in the streets as they prepared to celebrate the Christmas holiday. ISIS and other Islamist terrorists continually slaughter Christians in their communities and places of worship as part of their global jihad.
‘These terrorists and their regional and worldwide networks must be eradicated from the face of the earth, a mission we will carry out with all freedom-loving partners.’
However, President Barack Obama has yet to comment on the incident as he is currently enjoying his annual Christmas vacation in Hawaii.