Though the 9/11 Memorial’s attendance has been underwhelming, a few safety concerns have surfaced in the recent months. Terrorism, of course, has always been a focal point in post-9/11 debate and planning, but the NYPD acknowledged another concern: suicide.
As it sits, the granite memorial lined with artificial waterfalls drops three stories into the ground. Police officers are concerned that grief-stricken visitors will be overwhelmed and tempted to jump to their death, the Times reports:
[I]n New York, as the Sept. 11 memorial began to take shape in 2006, the concern about possible suicide attempts was expressed by James K. Kallstrom, a former adviser on counterterrorism. At the time, the greater concern was that someone would throw a satchel laden with explosives or release an airborne contaminant around the memorial’s twin, one-acre watery voids.“Our big worry several years ago, in the original design, was terrorism, and now we add suicide to the equation,” said Glenn P. Corbett, an associate professor of fire science at John Jay College, who is advising the Skyscraper Safety Campaign in its criticism of the memorial as inadequately safe and secure. “I think it’s going to happen — a suicide. I think it is an unbelievably emotional site.”
Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said there is a plan in place to prevent suicides, though he refused to divulge it. Normally, this seems like hiding the truth from the public, but in this case, it probably makes sense not to make this any easier than it might already be.