The NYPD is stepping up patrols at the city's black houses of worship as a "precaution" in the aftermath of the shooting deaths of nine people at a South Carolina church.
Mayor Bill de Blasio said that the police department would follow the methods used to protect Jewish institutions when they have been the subject of bias attacks elsewhere in the world.
Speaking at an unrelated event Thursday morning at Prospect Park, De Blasio said the authorities had no information about specific threats against black churches here, but would be "watchful for anything that suggests any other type of attack.
"There's no place in New York City for this kind of hatred, and that we, through the NYPD, have increased our resources directed at protecting African-American churches in this city as a precaution."
Nine people were killed at the historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church Wednesday night. Late Thursday morning, police arrested the suspected shooter, Dylann Storm Roof, 21, who was captured about 200 miles away in North Carolina. In his Facebook profile, Roof is wearing a coat with flags of onetime white supremacist regimes: apartheid South Africa and Rhodesia, which is now Zimbabwe.
"We in this city feel the pain of people anywhere in this country, anywhere in this globe, because we're so connected to each and every part of the country and the world," de Blasio said.
The Rev. Herbert Daughtry of Brooklyn's House of the Lord said the police weren't at his church as of early Thursday afternoon -- but its leaders weren't waiting to bolster security.
He presided over a conference call with church leaders where he reminded them to be vigilant of any suspicious behavior. It's a challenge for a church, he said: being welcoming to worshippers while on the lookout for suspicious behavior.
"Even Jesus said, watch as well as pray," Daughtry said. "Even Jesus taught us to be alert. You don't have to always pray with your eyes closed."