Security beefed up across New York area for 4th of July holiday weekend

NEW YORK (WABC) -- Added security measures will be ramped up for the 4th of July across the area and particularly in New York City, especially in areas like Times Square and other high profile sites.

U.S. Coast Guard patrols on higher alert against any Homeland Security issues, with millions of Americans expected to not only travel, but also revel outdoors at Independence Day fireworks celebrations.

"The patterns of patrol are not changed," Petty Officer Steve Strohmaier said. "We have extra presence out on the water to prevent emergencies from happening."

The beefed up patrols will be in place the entire weekend, especially Monday, when many more boaters are expected in the upper bay around the Statue of Liberty. Still, there are restrictions in place, and you can find them by CLICKING HERE. They include charts advising boaters where they are not allowed between Roosevelt Island and Governors Island.

"There will be certain security zones in place to protect the barges that will be firing off the fireworks," Strohmaier said.

Heightened security is also being put in place in high-profile sites throughout Manhattan and along the East Side for Monday's fireworks display.

Joining the added patrols are 1,257 new police officers who just graduated.

"You have now become guardians at the gate of this great city, watchman to protect the eight and a half million people who live here," NYPD Commissioner William Bratton told them.

This will also be the first year for the newly-formed Critical Response Command.

"You will see many officers with heavy vests, helmets and long guns to protect," Chief of Department James O'Neill said. "We can respond at a moment's notice to any incident."

The counterterrorism units are on continuous patrol, and their visibility is being noticed.

"New York has the ability to keep it secure and locked, like they've always done," one area resident said. "The Fourth of July, obviously a very hectic time, but I think it will be alright."

And even those visiting the city are confident they are safe.

"Police officers being very friendly and letting us know what's going on," one tourist said. "I would rather be here that any other city right now for Fourth of July." null
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