Extra precautions in place to protect Black Friday shoppers after Manhattan attack

WRENTHAM, Mass. – After recent attacks on public gatherings, police across the world are working to cure soft targets like holiday markets, outdoor concerts and sporting events.

That security will be front and center this week as police from across southeastern Massachusetts will be focusing on the Wrentham Village Premium Outlets.

“Manhattan justified what we’re doing,” Deputy Wrentham Police Chief Bill McGrath said, referring to the recent terror attack that killed eight people in New York City.

One of the more visible changes will be white, plastic barriers. While they may appear to be in place for crowd control, they’re actually designed to prevent a truck from driving into the masses of people.

“Every time something happens, everybody in this business starts to rethink and recalculate what they’re going to do next and how they’re going to protect the public, and that’s what we’re doing,” McGrath said.

Something else that’s new this year -- police are going to have a checkpoint for commercial vehicles at the main entrance of the outlets. Officers want to make sure that every trucker who drives up belongs there.

“We’re paying particular attention to vehicles coming in because of primarily the trend that’s taken place, most recently in Manhattan,” McGrath said.

If shoppers don’t notice the barriers, they’ll certainly notice all the police. McGrath says 40 to 50 officers will be posted around the outlet mall. Undercover officers will be there too, blending in with the crowd.

“This is a proactive way for us to protect the public and if the public is shopping they should find comfort in that with the police presence, with the barricade presence, and with all of the law enforcement they see,” McGrath said.

The outlets open at midnight Friday morning, but McGrath says shoppers will begin lining up around 5 p.m. on Thanksgiving. His officers will be out there at that time, too.