02/17/2012 01:18 pm ET

At 9/11 Memorial, NYPD And Grief Experts Concerned About Possibility For Suicides

Originally focused on the possibility of terrorism at the 9/11 memorial, the NYPD has acknowledged new fears over the site as a potential place for grief-stricken visitors to commit suicide.

Grief experts told The New York Times the powerful emotions that are evoked by the memorial's design with its granite, acre-sized reflecting pools may trigger overwhelmed visitors to attempt to jump into the waterfalls.

In an interview with Esquire magazine, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, after desribing the memorial as a "very target-rich environment" said of the suicide concerns, "We have to think of these possibilities. People might commit suicide. We're concerned about the possibility of somebody jumping in. This is what we're paid to think about."

Although Kelly adds that the department has a plan in place if such an incident were to ever arise, a professor at John Jay College criticized the memorial's layout as unsafe and suggests an attempt is inevitable, telling The Times, "Our big worry several years ago, in the original design, was terrorism, and now we add suicide to the equation. I think it’s going to happen-a suicide. I think it is an unbelievably emotional site."

In 2008, the World Trade Center Health Registry estimated that since September 11th, 70,000 people have developed post-traumatic stress disorder.

Upon the 10th anniversary of September 11th, hundreds of visitors were seen mourning their loved ones at the site, with one particular photo of a grieving father kneeling before the memorial capturing the somber atmosphere.

Watch a tour of the memorial with designer Michael Arad below: