World Cities on Alert Ahead of New Year’s Eve Festivities

Hundreds of thousands of law enforcement, military and security officials will be deployed in cities around the world to keep New Year’s Eve revelers safe as they gather to welcome 2018.

In the United States, New York City officials announced they would use two-step screening, snipers, street closures and specially trained dogs to secure Times Square, where an estimated 2 million people will gather to watch the annual ball drop at midnight.

In Las Vegas, 300 National Guard troops will join more than 1,500 police officers to keep safe the city’s famed Strip, home to a number of casinos, resorts and hotels. The security precautions to protect the expected crowd of more than 300,000 will include snipers positioned on rooftops and double the number of emergency response teams from previous years.

In South America, Rio de Janeiro police plan a security force of 12,000, nearly 20 percent more officers than last year, for New Year’s events. Military police say they are suspending vacations for security personnel to ensure there are enough police officers on duty.

Patrols in London

In London, a record number of armed officers and canine units will patrol celebrations and the city’s Underground subway system, although Metropolitan Police said they had received no specific threat. Steel and concrete barricades will ring main events that will be attended by an estimated 500,000 people, police said.

In Germany, all major cities, including Berlin, Munich, Hamburg and Cologne, announced there would be enhanced police presence at all celebrations. They declined to reveal details.

In Africa, after at least nine people were killed Friday outside a church in suburban Cairo by a gunman on a motorcycle, Egyptian authorities have beefed up security for New Year’s Eve and Orthodox Christmas.

In an attempt to prevent further terrorist attacks, the Interior Ministry has raised the security alert to the maximum level throughout the country. The ministry has ordered heightened security near vital institutions such as churches and embassies.

More security patrols will be deployed to streets, squares and other areas where celebrations will be held.

In Istanbul, police have arrested 120 people with suspected links to Islamic State militants ahead of the New Year’s celebrations. The city also plans to more than double the number of police officers on the streets to prevent a repeat of last year, when a man armed with an assault rifle killed 39 Turks and foreigners at a nightclub. Police have also canceled some public celebrations in key districts of Turkey’s largest city.

Preparations in India

In India, more than 30,000 security personnel will guard the popular gathering sites across Mumbai. In the southern tech hub of Bengaluru, officials plan to deploy more than 15,000 officers, as well as use drones, security cameras and canine units. A 500-member, all-female police squad will also be deployed to ensure there is no repeat of last year, when several women were harassed and molested in the streets by male revelers.

In Australia, one of the first places to ring in the new year, security officials are guarding against any kind of terror attack on New Year’s Eve. Officials said police officers would be out in force on the ground, in the air and on the sea as part of the largest security operation in the country.

More than 1 million people are expected to gather in the center of Sydney and at least half that number in Melbourne to watch fireworks displays. Police said Melbourne’s city center would be on lockdown and remain closed until 6 a.m. New Year’s Day to protect the crowd.

Police in Melbourne last month arrested a man for allegedly planning to shoot revelers on New Year’s Eve.

Source: Voice of America