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NYPD Checks in With Truck Rental Companies in Wake of Berlin Attack

By Jeff Mays | December 20, 2016 4:52pm
 Counterterrorism officers stand guard in Times Square after the attacks in Brussels Tuesday morning, March 22, 2016.
Counterterrorism officers stand guard in Times Square after the attacks in Brussels Tuesday morning, March 22, 2016.
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DNAinfo/Ben Fractenberg

LOWER EAST SIDE — The NYPD is reaching out to truck rental agencies after a tractor-trailer was used in an attack on a Christmas market in Berlin that left 12 dead and dozens injured.

"There's been a special outreach effort to truck rental agencies to deepen the dialogue," Mayor Bill de Blasio said Tuesday at an unrelated press conference.

"NYPD went back to a number of companies in the last 24 hours to check in and to check for anything suspicious. Obviously, so far, nothing has been brought up."

But the city has beefed up security at Christmas markets around the city. There are Christmas markets in Union Square, Columbus Circle and Bryant Park among other places.

"No specific threats and definitely specific measures," said de Blasio.

"NYPD is reinforcing the Christmas market locations around the city, critical response command and strategic response group are deployed right now, happened within just an hour or two after the attack in Berlin and we will continue that as long as we deem necessary."

The truck was used in the Berlin attack to strike visitors and vendors at the market in what officials there say was a terrorist attack. A similar incident along a promenade in Nice, France, in July left 86 people dead.

The mayor said the NYPD already had a relationship with truck rental agencies in place "as a general outreach to make sure there was a deep connection to those companies so they knew if they saw anything suspicious they could report it in right away."

Just because there are no specific threats doesn't mean the city is not being vigilant, added de Blasio.

"Definitely another opportunity to say if you see something, say something. If any New Yorker sees anything suspicious around one of these Christmas markets, we need to know right away," he said.

Because of the city's status as a high profile target, crowded locations such as Rockefeller Center, the World Trade Center and Times Square are always being monitored, especially after an international terrorism incident.

"I think it's a very sad reality but it's not new to us, around the holidays from Thanksgiving to New Years Eve we are at a heightened state of alert on top of our already high state of alert and we move our assets constantly to keep locations safe," said de Blasio.