New York City police acted swiftly to guard against attacks of the sort that ravaged Mumbai, another financial center halfway across the world, a deputy New York police commissioner said on Friday.
New York police used Critical Response Vehicles -batteries of up to 75 police cars deployed to potential hot spots with sirens blaring -to boost security near possible targets, Deputy Commissioner of Public Affairs Paul Browne said.
"Those CRVs may be deployed at certain traffic stops and in the vicinity of hotels," Browne told Reuters in a phone interview.
As it happened, reports of "plausible but uncorroborated information" about a possible al Qaeda attack on New York's transit system had led police to deploy additional officers at subway stations and on commuter rails.
"That has to do with intelligence unrelated to Mumbai but coincidentally our staffing-up happened at the time of the Mumbai incidents," Browne said.
The city has one of the world's most elaborate counterterrorism operations with 1,000 officers, including a unit to deal with hostage-takings, supplemented by envoys in 11 foreign cities to gather and share intelligence.
Gunmen in Mumbai, formerly known as Bombay, attacked numerous sites including luxury hotels in search of Westerners. More than 120 people were killed.
New York has taken extraordinary measures since it has been attacked twice: on September 11, 2001, when the World Trade Center was destroyed, and in a 1993 truck bombing at the former twin towers.
"Every day we deploy in ways that take into account what's happening around the world ... and that includes paying attention to hotels and landmarks and we take into account what happens in Mumbai or anywhere in the world," Browne said.
"We have had a number of exercises in advance of this incident that look at various scenarios including ones where hostages are taken and how would we respond," Browne said. "We have a large emergency service unit which is trained specifically to respond to incidents like that."
Transit systems have come under close watch because of the bombings in Madrid in 2004 and London in 2005.
Mumbai is not one of the 11 foreign cities where New York assigns police officers but the city did send envoys there after the July 2006 attacks on Mumbai railway stations and trains killed more than 180 people.
"We have not done that at this point and it is something that we are reviewing," Browne said.