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New York Heightens Security in Public Places - 2003-02-08

New York has heightened its security at public places, including the subway, in response to Washington's decision to raise the state of alert to high. But officials are urging people to go about their business as usual and let law enforcement officials worry.

New York City has been on a high level of alert since the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. But now that Washington has raised the national warning level to "high alert," police in New York City are increasing their presence at landmarks, bridges and tunnels, the subway and other highly populated areas.

Measures also include setting up checkpoints and posting armed personnel at so-called "soft targets," such as hotels, following an al-Qaida terrorist attack at a hotel in Kenya last November.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg told reporters that, while there has been no specific threat, the deadly attack on the World Trade Center proves that New York City is a potential target. "As we learned so tragically on September 11, New York's role as capital of the world and its symbolic value as the center of American business will always make it a target for those who want to destroy our way of life," he said. "My message today to the people of the city of New York is simple, go about your lives as you normally would and we will do everything in our power to protect you."

But his main message to New Yorkers was that higer alert or not, they should go about their daily lives as usual. "Leave the worrying to the professionals, and live your lives, otherwise the terrorists will win without doing anything," he said.

For the first time, New York has installed a statewide surveillance team to respond to a possible biological, chemical or nuclear threat.

A new statewide emergency command center was also recently set up and an additional 1,000 police officers have been deployed in New York City specifically for counter-terrorism measures.