NYC's top cop: 'I think we're ready'
'It's an anniversary. You have to be concerned about it'
NEW YORK (CNN) -- Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said Monday that New York City is prepared for the anniversary of the attacks that razed the twin towers of the World Trade Center, killing what officials now say was a total 2,801 people. (Full story)
"I think we're ready," Kelly told CNN's "Newsnight with Aaron Brown." "We're certainly much better prepared than we were a year ago; we're better prepared than we were six months ago, so it's an incremental process."
Still, he said, the police force needs more training and equipment and cannot afford to focus solely on protecting New Yorkers from terrorist attacks.
"We still, obviously, have to focus on conventional crime," he said.
Kelly said those efforts have paid off, with crime down more than 6 percent this year, and the homicide rate the lowest since record-keeping began.
The city's efforts to protect its residents from terrorists have been led by a new counterterrorism bureau, run by a former director of operations for the CIA and a retired Marine Corps general.
In the aftermath of the September 11 attacks, the police department has placed some of its own investigators overseas and worked to improve cooperation among federal, state and local agencies.
"We're doing a lot of things differently, but still the core mission of the department is to fight crime and keep this city as safe as possible from conventional crime as well as terrorism."
Some parts of the city are more vulnerable than others, he said, citing subways as one area that has received special attention from authorities. In Tokyo, terrorists used the subway in a sarin gas attack in 1995, killing 11 people and injuring more than 5,000 others.
Kelly acknowledged he is concerned about the possibility of a repeat attack on the city. "It's an anniversary. You have to be concerned about it."
But he expressed confidence the city will reach September 12 intact. "We'll have, I believe, appropriate resources in place, and in the right places, to address any event that may happen."
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