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New York Today: How Safe Is Times Square?


A frightening day in the heart of the city.

Jeenah Moon for The New York Times

Updated, 8:44 a.m.

Good morning on this sweaty Friday.

A car plowed into pedestrians in Times Square on Thursday, killing an 18-year-old tourist and injuring at least 22 others.

The driver, Richard Rojas, a 26-year-old from the Bronx, appeared to have been impaired by drugs, law enforcement officials said.

The nature of the crash immediately stoked fears of terrorism. But there was no indication that was the motivation, Mayor Bill de Blasio said at a news conference.

Before New Year’s Eve, James P. O’Neill, the police commissioner, described Times Square as one of the “safest venues in the entire world,” because of the heavy presence of officers and other security measures.


The wrecked maroon Honda after the crash at the intersection of 45th and Broadway in Times Square.

Jeenah Moon for The New York Times

After the crash, we asked pedestrians near Times Square how safe they felt. The responses were mixed.

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“Not at all,” said Sonia Martinez, 69, of Miami, who lived in New York for 30 years. “I’m so scared walking there,” she said, looking past a string of police tape into a nearly vacant Times Square on Thursday. “I’m always looking over my shoulder.”

Ms. Martinez said that she wanted to move back to the city, but that she had safety concerns.

“New York is the focus point for terrorism,” she added. “Crazy people all over the world are focused on New York. It’s scary.”

Diana Veloia, 33, from Harlem, who often walks through Times Square on her daily commute,…

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