The NYPD on Friday began ramping up police presence around houses of worship in areas of the city with high Jewish and Muslim populations amid growing security concerns.
The new measures come after Khaled Mashal, a former high-ranking Hamas leader, demanded a “day of Jihad” across the world — sending city and state officials scrambling to beef up precautionary measures.
“I want every New Yorker, especially Jewish New Yorkers and other groups, to know there are currently no credible, specific threats against our city,” Mayor Eric Adams said late Thursday.
NYPD and other law enforcement steps up
While authorities have not received explicit threats targeting the Big Apple, police brass said that every single member of the NYPD will be mobilized and asked to appear in uniform on Friday out of an abundance of caution.
Meanwhile, Gov. Kathy Hochul put the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services Office of Counterterrorism on a heightened state of alert, and activated the National Guard to aid in any potential situation that may arise.
This show of force was on full display throughout the city on Friday morning, with scores of police officers standing guard outside of synagogues and mosques in the five boroughs. NYPD counterterrorism officers also had a notable presence in the vicinity of Jewish schools.
The increased safeguards come in tandem with several large-scale protests expected to draw thousands in the heart of the Big Apple during the afternoon. According to insiders, the NYPD is preparing for demonstrations to erupt into violence as tensions run high. Still, NYPD Chief of Patrol John Chell pledged that law enforcement will take a zero-tolerance policy on possible clashes.
“We are currently getting our resources together, and we will be there just like we’ve been there all week to keep the peace. We will not tolerate any hate—any acts of disorder will be quelled quickly,” Chell said.
Mayor Adams also announced that the administration has been in constant communication with both Muslim and Jewish faith leaders. And despite the threats, Gov. Kathy Hochul asked New Yorkers to not alter their plans and continue daily life as normal.
“When we change our behavior without a serious, credible threat, we’re letting the terrorists win. I want all New Yorkers to feel confident going to a synagogue or going to school,” Hochul said.
Meanwhile, NYPD Counterterrorism Units could be seen at major public spaces, including outside of the Jacob Javits Center during this weekend’s New York Comic Con.
Adams, for his part, soundly condemned the hateful rhetoric coming from Hamas’ leaders.
“We are deeply disturbed by the message of hate. It is not acceptable,” Adams said.