Whether you are at your favorite bar on New Year's Eve or celebrating the end of 2011 and the beginning of 2012 in Times Square, expect security around the city to be tight. New Year's Eve in New York City is one the largest gatherings around the world. When the ball drops at midnight, it is expected that there will be nearly 1 million people in Times Square. With so many people in large open areas, security becomes a major issue, especially in our post-9/11 world.
The office of the Deputy Commissioner of Public Information for the NYPD told International Business Times' Crimes of New York that, similar to previous years, bringing any type of alcohol, backpack or large bags in Times Square will be prohibited. It is also suggested that individuals avoid brining any type of lawn chairs into the areas as well.
The will be approximately 16 checkpoints placed strategically around Times Square. Once clearing the proper checkpoints, individuals will be placed in pens according to DCPI. Individuals can leave the pens, but it is not encouraged. If an individual returns, however, they will most likely not be allowed back in the same pen.
There will also be several street closures in effect starting around 3 p.m., according to the Department of Transportation. Seventh Avenue and Broadway between 41st Street and 59th Street will be closed, including all surrounding side streets. They will remain closed until 3 a.m. the next day.
While there is no credible threat to the New Year's Eve celebration, the New York City Police Department will be on high alert. In order to protect New Yorkers on one of the largest party nights of year, the NYPD will implement a host of tactics to root out any potential threats. Explosive-sniffing dogs, at least 35 mounted horses and about 1,500 uniformed and plainclothes officer will patrol the streets surrounding Time Square on Saturday.
But what are the security concerns for the local bars? What do owners and patrons need to look out for on this night of all party nights?
First of all, New Year's is a dynamic night for any security, says Alan Zajic. Alan Zajic is a consultant and security expert. He advises bars, casinos, hotels and nightclubs on all issues related security management. There is a lot of focus and a lot of tensions.
Zajic says on New Year's Eve, it is important to for bar staff and management to be aware of all emergency situations and how to deal with them.
Safety is always paramount, says Zajic. In case of fire, in case someone brings a weapon into a bar, he says, the bar staff must be aware of all emergency plans in place. It is important to be aware that all of the exits are cleared and able to be opened.
Zajic also says that bar owners must be aware of who they let into their establishments, especially on New Year's Eve.
Start with the screening process, he says. Security is the number one deterrent effect. Generally speaking, if a person is acting out in line going in, they will continue to act a nuisance in the bar. They root out individuals who appear to be too intoxicated or looking to cause trouble before they step foot inside the bar.
However, doormen cannot prevent all potential fights and problems. Choke points are crucial to monitor on New Year's Eve. Choke points, says Zijac, are areas of the bar where fights and arguments often break out.
It is amazing how many incidents occur in front of a restroom, he says. Restrooms are major areas for fights because people are often moving back and forth and often bump into each other. Zijac also says that dance floors and just outside of the front doors are major hotspots for confrontations. Therefore, it is important to monitor customers' behavior once they enter a bar. Zijac says, it is possible to tell when a major confrontation will break out based on the way one customer looks at another. He calls this mad dogging or mean mugging.
Mad dogging and mean muggings is 'that look,' he says. The glaring, the staring, which leads people to fight. Security needs to watch out for this and make sure their presence is known and if a physical altercation breaks out, it is important to immediately remove those individuals, not only from a bar, but away from their friends, otherwise, a major brawl could occur inside the bar.
You have to get them away from their buddies, says Zijac. Emotions run high during a physical altercation and two groups could start attacking one another because two individuals had a problem.
Zijac also offers advice to patrons on New Year's Eve.
Carry as few personal affects as you can, he says. It is a big night for theft. Bring and ID, cash and a coat. Women should avoid large bags and purses and make sure that friends come along to the bars. Never go alone.
Designated drivers don't work on New Year's Eve, Zijac says. Most people will be consuming alcohol so, he says, don't rely on someone at a bar to remain sober the whole. He also says taxis a are tough thing to get, too. Therefore, establish your exact mode of transportation before the night begins. Also, Zijac says, it is extremely important to be aware of your surroundings throughout the night.
Make sure you are knowledgeable about what is going on around you, pacing yourself, and not consuming more than you usually would.