NYPD ON GUARD: While police and investigators in Berlin are trying to get to the root of what appears to be a deliberate attack that has left 12 people dead and more than 50 injured, New York City Police have amped up security.
“The NYPD is monitoring the events in Germany and around the world today. The department has moved highly trained teams, including the Critical Response Command, to high-profile locations around New York City,” the NYPD reported Monday afternoon. “In the coming days, we will look to learn more about what occurred to inform the NYPD’s operations, deployments, and training of officers.”
The Critical Response Command is a 500-person elite squad that is trained in counterterrorism. The group was established last year under then-Police Commissioner William Bratton and was first put into place following the deadly attacks in Paris. It is part of a neighborhood-policing plan that ensures “steady sectors to work with residents at reducing crime, fear and disorder.”
Monday’s incident in Berlin occurred in a holiday market in Breitscheidplatz Square near the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church in the German capital’s main shopping area.
New York’s increased vigilance comes at a time when local police and federal authorities are already at heightened alert due to seasonal shopping and the Trump factor — that is snarled traffic and limited pedestrian access near Trump Tower where President-elect Donald Trump has been camped out with his transition team. Retailers in the tower’s vicinity, which include, among others, Gucci, Armani, Tiffany and Ralph Lauren, have reported a steep drop in foot traffic, with commotion and police restrictions limiting entry into the stores.
Monday’s added concern follows two Midtown attacks. Police were still searching for suspects responsible for two stabbings in Times Square early Sunday morning. And in an unrelated incident, a man was shot and killed early Saturday morning at 40th Street and Sixth Avenue.