NYPD: High-profile buildings need tighter security

NEW YORK – Managers and developers of high-profile skyscrapers and other buildings in the city need to take more steps to guard against terrorist attacks, according to a new report by the New York Police Department.

“The same qualities that make the city’s buildings recognized icons of design, culture and commerce also make them continuous targets of terrorism,” Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said in a foreword for the report.

The report — which was to be distributed Wednesday at a meeting with private security officials — doesn’t name the buildings the NYPD believes are at highest risk for bombings or other types of attacks. But the Empire State Building, New York Stock Exchange and Freedom Tower planned for ground zero have been cited in the past as potential targets.

The report offers a formula for measuring the vulnerability of buildings to attacks based on design, prominence and proximity to landmarks and other more likely targets. As an example, it cites the destruction of a smaller World Trade Center building caused by the collapse of one of the twin towers on Sept. 11, 2001.

High-risk buildings should use securely fixed “anti-ram” columns to harden their perimeters, the report says. Large explosions, it says, cause ordinary concrete barriers or planters to shatter and create a shrapnel-like hazard. It also says builders should reduce the risk of broken glass by positioning glass facades away from nearby landmarks.

The report warns that blueprints and floor plans could fall into the wrong hands. Vulnerable buildings, it says, “should allow access to documents containing sensitive security information only on an as-needed basis, and should conduct background checks on all individuals granted such access.”