White Plains officials say they will increase their security presence at and around the city’s 15th annual New Year’s Eve Spectacular this year, though they say they have no reason to expect any disruption of the night’s festivities.
White Plains Public Safety Commissioner David Chong.
“Right now, we have no indication that there will be any issues on New Year’s Eve,” said White Plains Public Safety Commissioner David Chong. “But I can tell you that we will be more than prepared, and we will have a lot of police officers assigned, both in uniform and in plain clothes.”
According to Chong, last year’s celebration attracted nearly 12,000 people, and the police department has noted an upward trend in attendance over the past years. Chong also said the celebration, the largest of its kind in Westchester County, had never experienced any major security issues. For general party-going safety, the commissioner offered four tips on how to enjoy your New Year’s Eve’s experience:
Don’t drink and drive: There will be a lot of DWI checkpoints (not that fear of a ticket should be your number one motivation to not drive under the influence, of course).
Leave no one behind: If you’re going out in a group, you should develop a plan so no one gets lost or left behind. You can coordinate meeting places and rendezvous points to make meeting up easier. Chong said groups with children in particular should plan ahead.
Secure your valuables: Especially if you’re going to be in large crowds where the people are elbow-to-elbow, make sure nothing is too easy to snatch.
Wear light colors: Staying out late? You should wear something that can be easily spotted by drivers, such as clothing that is light in color.
The White Plains Police Department is taking a number of new precautions this year to ensure the safety of party goers and local businesses. These measures include working with agencies that will provide additional intelligence and assistance, including the NYPD, the MTA Police, and the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force. Parts of the city will also be under video surveillance. Chong said the increase and advancement in security comes amidst the backdrop of recent local, national, and international events, threats, and unrest.
“There’s a lot of angst going around throughout the nation, but our police department is very well prepared,” said Chong. “We are aware of the things have happened recently locally. We are aware of the things have happened recently nationally. And we are always aware of the threat of what’s going on internationally with terrorism.”
Thousands are anticipated to attend the celebration on Wednesday. Featured attractions include a DJ with a live band, a crowd countdown preceding a ball drop, and a fireworks and confetti show at midnight.
Attendees should be aware that several streets will be closed for the duration of the celebration. You can see a map of the planned street closings here.