How SFPD is preparing for NYE after FBI flags city as 'attractive target' in threat assessment

Stephanie Sierra Image
Saturday, December 30, 2023
How SF's preparing for NYE after FBI flags city as 'attractive target'
San Francisco police detail how they are preparing for New Year's Eve after the FBI flagged the city as an 'attractive target' in threat assessment.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- ABC7 News has obtained a threat assessment from the FBI flagging San Francisco as an 'attractive target' due to planned New Year's Eve celebrations. The confidential assessments shared with law enforcement include concerns about the city's 'unprotected coastline' and fireworks barges. But police say there is no credible threat to the city.

According to the assessment, San Francisco is one of several cities like New York City and Las Vegas that's on the FBI's radar. Federal authorities sent law enforcement agencies the document that lists San Francisco as a possible target for would-be attackers because of its size, cultural significance, and associated media coverage.

RELATED: San Francisco makes 'attractive target' on New Year's Eve: FBI report

But San Francisco police say there is nothing prohibiting New Year's Eve celebrations.

"The assessment is meant for situational awareness," said Asst. Police Chief David Lazar. "We need to be aware that there are threats out there, there are people that are out there to do harm, we've seen that over a long period of time, but for San Francisco there is nothing credible... there's nothing specific."

Asst. Chief Lazar told ABC7 News while there are no known plans to disrupt celebrations, the department will be prepared with additional patrols.

"There will be additional officers out and around all the planned venues and the fireworks show along the Embarcadero but we will also have additional officers all throughout the city," Lazar said.

According to the threat assessment reviewed by ABC7, the FBI lists concerns about domestic or Jihadi Extremists acting on their own. In addition to possible cyber attackers. The note states law enforcement is also concerned about drones being used.

MORE: Threat assessment finds Times Square 'attractive target' for terrorists but no specific threats

"We do not recommend anyone bring out a drone," said Lazar. "It just adds a layer of complication, it's a Homeland Security issue."

The FBI also cited specific concerns related to San Francisco - including what was described as the "large unprotected coastline and fireworks barges that could be targets." SFPD says they are working in coordination with the U.S. Coast Guard and their marine unit to respond accordingly.

Alameda Police Chief Nishant Joshi reviewed the FBI assessment and told ABC7 News he is preparing for maximum staffing -- but made it clear he has no information that suggests the community is at risk.

"We are going to have our officers on patrols. They're going to be diligent. We're going to be looking for any information or any indications that our communities could be at risk of a threat," Chief Joshi said. "If so... we will take the appropriate steps to mitigate risk."

The document also noted the current threat environment is made more toxic and dangerous by the ongoing Israel and Hamas war. The assessment states threats and hate speech have "skyrocketed" since the Oct. 7 Hamas attack, as well as the re-emergence of ISIS and al Qaeda propaganda online.

"If we think something is out of place, definitely everyone should report it," Lazar told ABC7 News.

A public notice from the Treasure Island Development Authority is strongly discouraging the general public from visiting Treasure Island and the Yerba Buena Island during New Year's Eve due to ongoing construction in the area.

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