New York City

NYPD beefs up security at churches & synagogues for Passover, Easter Week

Following Egyptian Coptic Church terror attacks

April 12, 2017 By Mary Frost Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Mayor Bill de Blasio and and NYPD Chief of Patrol Terence Monahan announced increased security measures at synagogues and churches across the city for Passover and Holy Week observances. Shown above: Members of the city's elite counterterrorism squad, the Critical Response Command (CRC). Photo: Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office
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In the wake of deadly bombings at two Coptic Christian churches in Egypt on Sunday that left at least 44 people dead and more than 100 others injured, Mayor Bill de Blasio and NYPD Chief of Patrol Terence Monahan announced increased security measures at synagogues and churches across the city for Passover and Holy Week observances.

At a press conference on Staten Island on Monday, the mayor said that the city was reinforcing security measures to prevent a copycat attack.

“This is horrible, horrible situation in Egypt. And the footage, if you have seen it is very, very disturbing,” de Blasio said.

Chief Monahan said that NYPD had already planned to have officers visit synagogues for Passover. Security is being stepped up, however, in light of Sunday’s attacks. Members of the city’s counterterrorism squad, the Critical Response Command (CRC), and another NYPD rapid response team called the Strategic Response Group (SRG) are being assigned to religious institutions.

“So we have house of worship cars and all [our] commands making visits starting now,” Monahan said. “Good Friday, obviously, we’re going to be out at all processions. We’re going to have our CRC, our SRG personnel assigned to various different commands [and] churches … and obviously again on Easter Sunday we’ll be out in full force covering all the masses. So, we’re going to have all of resources out there.”

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams was set to visit the Coptic Orthodox Church of St. George in Dyker Heights Tuesday night to attend a vigil held in support of Egypt’s victims. He urged Brooklynites to extend their support to the grieving church community.

The Coptic Orthodox Church Network lists five Coptic Christian churches in New York City. Following the bombings, NYPD immediately shifted extra resources to these churches.

The mayor said that following an attack of this nature anywhere in the world, “immediate action is taken to reinforce the community that is under attack” in New York City. After so many tragic attacks, “NYPD moves almost instantaneously,” he said.

“So if it happens to be, for example, the attack that happened in Sweden, we reinforce the Swedish government locations in New York City. If it is an attack on a Catholic church, you reinforce the Catholic churches in this city and get that presence out front immediately.”

In addition to religious institutions, security at other key public sites is also increased, the mayor said.

The Islamic State (ISIS) claimed responsibility for the attacks in Egypt. A three-month state of emergency has been declared by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.


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