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Currently NYC Law Has Max. Penalty for Trespassing of Under 1 Year – In Light of Terrorism, Fed Law Should Make Loud & Clear, Particularly to Trespassers from Overseas, That Wrongdoers Should Stay Off Bridges, WTC, Statue of Liberty or Other Critical Infrastructure

Schumer Said NYPD Has Done Great Work Pursuing Cases, But Available Punishments Are Too Weak

Senator Will Point to The Recent Incidents When Two White Flags Were Placed Atop The Brooklyn Bridge, & Perpetrators Stayed Unknown for Several Confusing Days, A Teen Trespassed on the WTC & Repeated Act on Historic Water Tower & An Attention-Seeker Took a Joy-Walk Along the Supports of the Brooklyn Bridge

Standing with NYPD’s Deputy Commissioner for Intelligence & Counterterrorism, John Miller, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer unveiled new legislation to make it a federal crime to trespass on critical infrastructure, like New York City’s bridges, the World Trade Center, the Statue of Liberty or Indian Point, with the intent to commit a crime. The bill would increase the maximum punishment for such behavior from less than one year to five years in jail. Schumer pointed to the fact that New York City is a top terror target, and the recent incidents of trespassing on critical infrastructure including, when two white flags were placed atop the Brooklyn Bridge, a Pro-Palestinian flag was flung from the Manhattan Bridge and a foreign tourist took a joy-walk along the supports of the Brooklyn Bridge. In March, a 16-year old boy climbed to the top of the World Trade Center to take a photo of himself, and has since been arrested for climbing a water tower in New Jersey, yet another example of critical infrastructure. Schumer said that the NYPD has done great work in pursuing these recent cases, but it is clear that a federal law is needed to better deter this behavior and to increase available punishments. Schumer said that this legislation would send a message to wrong-doers and pranksters alike, that trespassing on our bridges, in our tunnels and elsewhere in New York City and across the state is taken extremely seriously, and would help better protect city residents, commuters and first-responders that must handle such incidences.

Schumer’s new legislation, modeled after similar legislation for trespassing on railroads and under the authority of the federal Commerce Clause, would make trespassing on any critical infrastructure, used in or affecting interstate commerce, with the intent to commit a crime, a federal crime punishable with up to five years in jail. Under Schumer’s bill, ‘critical infrastructure’ is defined as the physical systems and assets so vital to the United States that the incapacity or destruction of such systems and assets would have a debilitating impact on security, national economic security and national public health or safety. This includes a landmark, structure or national monument. Currently, New York City law has a maximum punishment of under one year for similar crimes. The NYPD supports this legislation.

“Bridges in Manhattan connect one of the country’s top terror targets with the rest of the tri-state area and with the most recent set of security breaches on these spans, plus at the World Trade Center, it’s clear that more must be done to protect our city, first responders and the tens of thousands of daily commuters that pass through each day,” said Schumer. “With terror threats at a high, it must be made loud and clear to any would-be trespassers, adrenaline junkies or potential criminals that the federal government and the NYPD take trespassing on critical infrastructure and national monuments very seriously; a law that makes this a federal crime and raises the current maximum jail time from one to five years would help deter this behavior, and provide the NYPD with stronger tools to combat this disturbing trend.”

Schumer said that regardless of a trespasser’s intention, this dangerous behavior puts the individual, tens of thousands of commuters, tourists and first responders like the NYPD at serious risk.  Schumer’s legislation would state that anyone who willfully trespasses or enters upon any critical infrastructure used in interstate commerce will be committing a federal crime and fined and/or imprisoned for up to five years.

Critical infrastructure, as defined by The Patriot Act, means systems and assets, whether physical or virtual, so vital to the United States that the incapacity or destruction of such systems and assets would have a debilitating impact on security, national economic security, national public health or safety, or any combination of those matters. This includes bridges, tunnels and more. Schumer said that his legislation fits squarely with the Department of Homeland Security’s mission to strengthen the security and resilience of its critical infrastructure against both physical and cyber threats. It is the role of the federal government to work with critical infrastructure owners and operators and SLTT entities to take proactive steps to manage risk and strengthen the security and resilience of the Nation's critical infrastructure, considering all hazards that could have a debilitating impact on national security, economic stability, public health and safety, or any combination thereof. These efforts shall seek to reduce vulnerabilities, minimize consequences, identify and disrupt threats, and hasten response and recovery efforts related to critical infrastructure.

This summer alone, there were at least three security breaches on bridges in New York City. On July 22nd, two white flags were placed atop the Brooklyn bridge. Aluminum pans were placed over floodlights to keep the stuntmen from being seen.  On August 20th, the Palestinian flag was hung along the side of the Manhattan bridge. On August 24th, a 24-year old man was arrested after climbing a cable beam along the Brooklyn Bridge to take photos with his iPhone. Earlier this year, a 16-year old New Jersey boy slipped through a hole in the fence, past security guards and climbed to the top of the country’s number one terrorist target, the World Trade Center.