NEW YORK In a metropolis shaken by its deadliest terrorist assault since 9/11, police are promising an unprecedented safety effort to attempt to safe a smooth goal spanning 5 boroughs and 26.2 miles: the New York Metropolis Marathon.
Metropolis officers have sought to calm the nerves of greater than 50,000 runners and large crowds of onlookers anticipated to line the marathon route by insisting it ought to go off Sunday with out a hitch solely days after a truck assault killed eight folks in decrease Manhattan.
The safety element will embrace tons of of additional uniformed patrol and plainclothes officers, roving groups of counterterrorism commandos armed with heavy weapons, bomb-sniffing canines and rooftop snipers poised to shoot if a risk emerges.
The Police Division can also be turning to a tactic it has used to guard Trump Tower and the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade: 16-ton sanitation vans full of sand. The vans, together with “blocker automobiles,” might be positioned at key intersections to try to forestall anybody from driving onto the course.
Marathoners from around the globe who’ve been streaming into the town in anticipation of the race expressed combined emotions about working so quickly after the carnage.
“I might be actually terrified of it when I’m at house and in entrance of the TV,” Annemerel de Jongh, 28, of The Hague, Netherlands, mentioned Thursday as she picked up her race quantity at a Manhattan conference middle. “However when I’m working I really feel perhaps a bit of bit invincible, like nothing can occur to me. I can run away from it.”
The New York Police Division mentioned it has no info pointing to any credible risk in opposition to the race.
There is no such thing as a query, although, that the course offers a safety problem, even for a police division with 35,000 officers.
The race begins in a comparatively safe location. Runners collect at Staten Island’s Fort Wadsworth, a former army set up now partially occupied by the U.S. Coast Guard.
From there, although, the race heads by means of residential neighborhoods with tons of of spots the place an attacker may steer a car onto the thickly packed course. Streets resulting in the course are closed, however on lots of them, in most years, the one barrier is a blue, picket sawhorse and a skinny plastic tape.
The gang is so huge, runners begin in waves, that means some folks will nonetheless be standing on the beginning line whereas rivals within the wheelchair division are crossing the end.
“It is going to be a unprecedented occasion, because it at all times is,” Mayor Invoice de Blasio mentioned this week at a information convention. “It is going to be nicely protected, because it at all times is.”
The assault Tuesday, on a bicycle path miles from the marathon route, was a grim reminder of how the Islamic State group is utilizing its propaganda to encourage radicalized “lone wolves” to trigger hurt with unsophisticated means in simply accessible settings.
The assault by an alleged Islamic State group supporter “seems to have adopted, virtually precisely to a T, the directions ISIS has put out in its social media channels,” mentioned the NYPD’s prime counterterrorism official, John Miller.
An internet Islamic State group journal posted final yr extolled utilizing vans to kill harmless victims, saying, “Autos are like knives, as they’re extraordinarily straightforward to amass.” It additionally suggested “surveying the route for obstacles, corresponding to posts, indicators, boundaries, humps, bus stops, dumpsters, and so forth. which is vital for sidewalk-mounted assaults.”
Investigators say there’s proof the suspect, 29-year-old Sayfullo Saipov, did reconnaissance earlier than driving a Residence Depot rental truck by means of an unobstructed entry to a motorbike path in decrease Manhattan and mowing down cyclists and pedestrians. A police officer shot and wounded Saipov earlier than he was arrested and charged with supporting terrorism and different federal counts.
The shift away from subtle large-scale assaults just like the one on the World Commerce Middle’s twin towers on Sept. 11, 2001, to smaller ones on smooth targets has pressured legislation enforcement to grow to be more proficient at easy methods to forestall and reply to terrorism, mentioned Karen Greenberg, director of Fordham Legislation College’s Middle on Nationwide Safety.
“I do not assume folks needs to be apprehensive,” Greenberg mentioned. “The police know what they’re doing. Have a look at how few profitable assaults there have been.”
Security changes made by organizers of the New York Metropolis Marathon following the bombing of the Boston Marathon in 2013 – like banning backpacks and costumes – stay in place, mentioned Chris Weiller, spokesman for New York Highway Runners. Regardless of widespread information experiences and pictures of the path of our bodies left by the truck assault, the cancellation fee has remained about the identical, he mentioned.
Boston Marathon organizers, working with native, state and federal legislation enforcement, additionally considerably enhanced safety alongside the course after the 2013 assault, together with extra officers deployed on race day, a no-fly zone over the course and drones to assist with surveillance.
New York Marathon entrant Kris Ledegen, 49, of Herdersem, Belgium, mentioned he by no means thought of skipping the race. One of many ladies killed in Tuesday’s assault was from Belgium. The nation was additionally the scene of an tried automotive assault this yr in Antwerp.
“It occurred right here, and it occurred in Belgium as nicely already,” Ledegen mentioned. “So it could actually occur wherever.”