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NYPD treating 20th anniversary of 9/11 as ‘elevated threat environment’

A file photo of an NYPD police vehicle. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images/TNS)

With the 20th anniversary of 9/11 quickly approaching, Mayor de Blasio and NYPD officials said Wednesday there’s no “specific and credible” terror threat against New York City, but that they’re treating the somber occasion as “an elevated threat environment.”

NYPD Deputy Commissioner John Miller said the assessment is based on several factors, including increased calls to action from terror groups, the United States’ withdrawal from Afghanistan and the fact that this year marks a more significant 9/11 anniversary than in years past.

“We operate on the idea that there is a threat out there, and that we have to continuously hunt for that — before the event, during the event, after the event, and not just at the event, but around the city,” Miller said. “We’ve stepped it up this year, not because of specific information about something in New York, but because we want people to see it, we want people to know they’re safe and we want people to know that we’re here and that we’re protecting that event.”

Miller pointed specifically to more than a dozen “significant propaganda releases” from terror groups and a trailer for a new al Qaeda film he expects will be released soon as indications that terror groups have been ramping up their organizing efforts.

“We are watching all the time,” de Blasio said at the Wednesday press briefing. “We know the ways of the terrorists. We understand this anniversary is going to be on their minds too.”

Planning for the 20th anniversary has been ongoing for many months, according to NYPD Counterterrorism Chief Martine Materasso.

She said the NYPD plans to deploy explosive detection dogs, heavy weapons teams, license plate readers, radiological and chemical sensors, as well as plainclothes cops to protect the city. Bomb squads will inspect the area and will remain throughout the day too.

Materasso and de Blasio also cautioned against the use of drones in Lower Manhattan, with Materasso noting that they’re illegal in all parts of the city and that a drone detection team would be in place downtown for this Saturday’s commemoration ceremony.

“Unacceptable, not going to be tolerated, they’re going to be confiscated,” the mayor said. “It’s too sensitive and too much has happened.”

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