RYE BROOK, N.Y. -- New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly stressed the importance of public-private partnerships in fighting terrorism and preventing crime at the Business Council of Westchester's annual dinner Wednesday, Oct. 24.
Speaking before a crowd of hundreds at the Hilton Westchester in Rye Brook, Kelly outlined the NYPD's efforts to combat terrorism and the success they've had foiling plotted attacks in the 12 years since Sept. 11.
"There may have been a time when Westchester County seemed a world apart from New York City," Kelly said. "But many of the boundaries have dissolved. Today the interests of New York City and Westchester are very much intertwined, especially when it comes to security and public safety. That's why our partnership on these issues is so critical."
Kelly attributed the NYPD's success to measures such as having heavily armed officers make unannounced visits to iconic locations around the city, disrupting surveillance and checking bags and backpacks at subway stations. The department has access to more than 5,000 cameras positioned around the city, approximately two-thirds of which are owned by public and private partners.
Kelly said that most attacks planned against New York are plotted outside the city. To fight this, he said that the department has teamed up with more than 150 law enforcement agencies in the Tri-State area to share information and resources. He said that the Westchester County Police and local departments were key members of this partnership.
He also talked about Operation Nexus, where detectives meet with business owners around the country who might be exploited by terrorists, such as truck rental companies and fertilizer stores. This program has encouraged businesses to report anomalous behavior.
"We think they'll be more likely to reach out to us if they've had direct contact with a detective," he said.
Kelly believes that efforts to fight terrorism have helped to keep crime down. He said that since Sept. 11, crime has dropped 33 percent, and the number of homicides is the lowest it's been since the 1950's.
"We are all in this fight together," he said. "With your help, we're confident we'll continue to prevail and keep this region and this country safe."