Millions of people tuned in at home, as well as in the streets of Manhattan for the 90th annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City. The 2016 parade — as in previous years — had a lot to offer, including lots of clowns, marching bands, musical performances, and of course a Charlie Brown float. Ahead of this year's parade, the NYPD ramped up its efforts to make sure that security at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade was prepared for various issues along the route.
A week before the annual event, ISIS reportedly urged its U.S. followers to carry out an attack at the parade, similar to the one on Bastille Day of 2016 when a man drove a truck into the Nice Promenade. According to NBC News, ISIS called the Macy's Parade an "excellent target," given the millions of people who would be in the streets standing by.
On Thursday, NYPD News posted on Twitter about their various efforts to increase security at the event, including bomb-sniffing dogs, Special Unit vehicles, and heavy weaponry. Fox News also reported that there would be plainclothes officers in the crowd and on rooftops along the route. There would also be over 80 sanitation trucks at intersections and other points along the route filled with sand to block off the parade.
John Miller, a New York Police Department counterterrorism official said, "You can ram a New York City Sanitation Department sand truck with a lot of things, but you're not going to move it," according to Fox News.
Miller added that there was no concrete threat, and that ISIS calling for an attack is a form of psychological warfare, Fox News reported. "We never accede to that," he said. Good Morning America attempted to reassure spectators as well, noting in a tweet that there was more of a NYPD presence at the parade than there were clowns. The tweet read, "'Cops outnumber clowns 3 to 1' at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade," accompanied by a photo of the Ronald McDonald float surrounded by NYPD officers.
During a news conference ahead of the parade, Miller also addressed security concerns and attempted to reassure anyone who had planned to come out. According to NBC News, he made clear that parade planning had been in the works for some time. "This is not something that just occurred to us over the weekend," he said, adding, "Bottom line: Come to the Thanksgiving Day Parade. Have a good time. Bring the family."