Meanwhile, attacks by truck or vehicle have become much more frequent around the world, from France to Sweden. This is certainly the first time such a tactic has been used on this scale in New York City. But it is something that we are concerned that we will be seeing more of, because it is so easy. All it takes is one person committed to trying to hurt others. We must be prepared for more of these so-called lone wolf attacks, whether enabled, inspired or directed by terrorism.
I am actually surprised that the perpetrator in this case did not kill and injure more people. The rate of speed he was going — the truck was supposedly traveling at a high rate of speed — and the size of the truck suggests we are fortunate more were not hurt.
What we need to attempt to do now is just do the best we can to prevent future attacks. During my second stint as New York Police Commissioner, we expanded significantly on the counter-intelligence unit created by Commissioner Kelly. I added hundreds of additional officers, the officers that you see in the city today, with the long guns and helmets and ballistic vests. These men and women strengthen our ability to prevent attacks and help us respond quicker if they do occur.
We are fortunate in New York that we have so many resources to work with. But that, again, is reflective of New York’s status as the most significant target in the world.
And so, life here will go on; it must. Indeed, the fact that the Halloween parade continued just blocks from where this horrific loss of life occurred is reflective of the resiliency of this city, and of our country. We will of course mourn the loss of lives, and we will try to do the best that we can to prevent more from being lost. But we are living in a new reality.
William J. Bratton has been in law enforcement for five decades and lead six police departments. He served two nonconsecutive terms as the Police Commissioner of the City of New York. He is currently the Executive Chairman of Teneo Risk.