WASHINGTON – New Year’s Eve was once a time to dream of Auld Lang Syne – old times past.
In 2017, New Year’s Eve is about dreading violence around big and small celebrations of the turn of the calendar page.
In America and around the world, everybody’s on edge, fearing the worst, taking precautions.
- In Houston, police are investigating why a drunk and disorderly suspect at a major Houston hotel planning a large New Year celebration event had an arsenal in his room on the top floor. The unidentified man was arrested on multiple charges after police found an AR-15, a shotgun, a handgun and lots of ammunition in his room.
- In New York, more cops, more bomb-sniffing dogs and more police snipers than ever are being deployed by the NYPD for New Year’s Eve to protect the 2 million spectators expected to cram Times Square to usher in 2018. NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill said counterterrorism planners are heeding lessons from recent terrorist attacks, including three in Manhattan since September 2016.
- In Sydney, Australia, authorities have tightened security measures ahead of the New Year’s celebration that is expected to attract 1 million revelers wand another 500,000 in Melbourne.
- In Berlin, Germany, New Year’s Eve celebrations will see, for the first time, a “safe zone” for women. Organizers of the Brandenburg Gate party are hoping to prevent mob attacks similar to those that occurred in Cologne two years ago. Hundreds of women were attacked by gangs of men with mostly Islamic migrant backgrounds during New Year’s Eve celebrations in 2015. The incident happened after Germany had accepted a record influx of more than one million Syrian refugees.
- In Las Vegas, scene of the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history outside a high-rise hotel three months ago, tens of thousands of revelers will ring in the new year in Las Vegas under the close eye of law enforcement. The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department has every officer working, while the Nevada National Guard is activating about 350 soldiers and airmen. On Saturday, two security guards were shot dead inside a hotel room at a Las Vegas hotel-casino before the gunman fled and ultimately shot and injured himself.
- In San Francisco, the police department is putting more officers on the street In the wake of a foiled terror plot that may have targeted Pier 39. A Modesto man was arrested Dec. 20 for what the FBI said was a planned Christmas terror attack inspired by the Islamic State.
- In London, armed police will patrol on New Year’s Eve, along with covert officers and dog units, as part of Scotland Yard’s plan to meet any threat as people celebrate the end of a year marked by major terrorist incidents in the U.K.