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This Is What Our Security State Looks Like In Manhattan

This photo essay by Michael Kirby Smith looks at the security measures in public spaces.

Posted on November 20, 2015, at 11:57 a.m. ET

Terrorist organizations are known for targeting places that would send some sort of message to their victims. The Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, for example, were targeted at the United States military's headquarters and the nation's financial core.

These are considered "hard targets" — places protected by security measures such as metal detectors, bag checks or cement barriers. Attacking them required extensive planning, financing, and recruiting. But these hard-targets have become more difficult to attack in the U.S. in the years since 2001, with the disruption of groups like al-Qaeda and increased security measures in place.

As a result, experts told BuzzFeed News that "soft-targets" — public spaces where people come together — are increasingly the focus of terrorist groups.

This photo essay by Michael Kirby Smith looks at the middle ground, how our society has slowly accepted the hardening of public spaces.

A security camera on Wall Street in New York, NY.
Michael Kirby Smith for BuzzFeed News

A security camera on Wall Street in New York, NY.

A barrier to stop cars on Wall Street in New York, NY.
Michael Kirby Smith for BuzzFeed News

A barrier to stop cars on Wall Street in New York, NY.

A dog checks a car passing through security barriers on Wall Street
Michael Kirby Smith for BuzzFeed News

A dog checks a car passing through security barriers on Wall Street

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A security camera in downtown New York.
Michael Kirby Smith for BuzzFeed News

A security camera in downtown New York.

A security guard in midtown in New York.
Michael Kirby Smith for BuzzFeed News

A security guard in midtown in New York.

Police barriers in Times Square in New York, NY.
Michael Kirby Smith for BuzzFeed News

Police barriers in Times Square in New York, NY.

Cones and a plastic barrier around Penn Station in New York.
Michael Kirby Smith for BuzzFeed News

Cones and a plastic barrier around Penn Station in New York.

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Large planters block cars from driving close to the Staten Island Ferry terminal on October 23, 2015, in New York.
Michael Kirby Smith for BuzzFeed News

Large planters block cars from driving close to the Staten Island Ferry terminal on October 23, 2015, in New York.

Security measures near the Staten Island Ferry terminal in New York.
Michael Kirby Smith for BuzzFeed News

Security measures near the Staten Island Ferry terminal in New York.

Security cameras near 9/11 Memorial Museum in New York.
Michael Kirby Smith for BuzzFeed News

Security cameras near 9/11 Memorial Museum in New York.

A man working security at Grand Central Station in New York, NY.
Michael Kirby Smith for BuzzFeed News

A man working security at Grand Central Station in New York, NY.

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Cameras in Times Square in New York.
Michael Kirby Smith for BuzzFeed News

Cameras in Times Square in New York.

A security sign in Penn Station in New York.
Michael Kirby Smith for BuzzFeed News

A security sign in Penn Station in New York.


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