Bomb-sniffing dogs? Check. Times Square crowd? Not this year

NEW YORK (AP) - New York City police have turned to familiar tactics ahead of Thursday’s iconic ball drop, deploying bomb-sniffing dogs and sand-filled sanitation trucks to guard against explosions.

But the department’s playbook this year includes an unusual mandate: preventing crowds from gathering in Times Square.

Police began closing the Crossroads of the World to vehicles and pedestrians at midnight and said they would disperse onlookers venturing into the area closest to the ball that historically draws a shoulder-to-shoulder crowd.

Revelers won’t even be permitted past police lines and even guests at five hotels in the area have been told to stay inside.

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