Saturday, December 6, 2008

NYPD Urges Hotels To Increase Security After Mumbai Attack

Hotels in New York are vulnerable to a Mumbai-style attack and police sent three investigators to India to learn how to better protect the U.S. landmarks, authorities said Friday.

The New York Police Department spelled out some of their findings and recommendations for tighter hotel security on Friday at a conference for scores of private security officials.

"In many ways, the city of Mumbai bears striking similarities to New York," Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly told the audience at police headquarters. "It is the country's financial capital, a densely populated, multicultural metropolis and a hub for the media and entertainment industries. All of those features make it a compelling target."

The attacks, Kelly added, also "represent a shift in tactics toward low-tech weaponry and a coordinated effort by a small group of men."

The deployment of officers to Mumbai is part of a program that began after Sept. 11, 2001, in which the nation's largest police department began posting counterterrorism officers in Singapore, Madrid and other large cities to trade information about security and potential threats. The officers also have been dispatched to the scenes of overseas terror attacks to speed access to evidence that could help deter strikes against the city.

The NYPD officials advised the hotels to train their staffs to be on the lookout for anyone loitering in lobbies or guest floors. They also recommended being suspicious of guests booking unusually long stays - a sign someone may be using a room as a staging area for conducting extensive surveillance or storing weapons.

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