When revelers begin arriving at New York’s Times Square on Saturday to ring in the new year, they will hear the familiar sound of police helicopters overhead, go through the mandatory bag screenings and see the usual mass of police officers. But they will also be greeted by something that has only recently become a regular feature of the city’s security infrastructure: strategically positioned garbage trucks loaded with sand, says the New York Times. The Sanitation Department bills itself as New York’s Strongest, and its hulking vehicles have made the agency a key ally as the Police Department and other law enforcement agencies seek to guard against truck attacks like those in Europe.
Trucks have been deployed outside Trump Tower on Election Day and along the route of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. The trucks weigh about 16 tons, and nearly double that with a full load of sand, according to Vito A. Turso, a spokesman for the Sanitation Department. “They’re pretty immovable,” he said. And that is the point. While there are no specific threats related to the event, officials said, the sand-filled trucks serve as a deterrent to the type of truck attacks in France and Germany that killed dozens of people and injured hundreds more. Sixty-five of the Sanitation Department trucks are part of a security plan that involves close to 7,000 police officers, assigned to guard against crime and terror by land, sea and air, as well as in the subway.