THE FBI today said it was making national a pilot program it tried out in 12 locations earlier this year that offers up to a $10,000 for information leading to the arrest of anyone who intentionally aims a laser at an aircraft.
The FBI says that in the pilot locations there has been a 19% decrease in the number of reported laser-to-aircraft incidents. Those locations included Albuquerque, Chicago, Cleveland, Houston, Los Angeles, New York City and Philadelphia.
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Now, the FBI—along with the Federal Aviation Administration and the Air Line Pilots Association, International—are extending the program to all 50 states, Guam, and Puerto Rico. The agency also said it would work with state, local, and international law enforcement on the campaign, and conduct outreach to schools to educate teens about the dangers associated with lasing.
Still the FBI said the laser pointing scourge continues to grow at an alarming rate. Since the FBI and the Federal Aviation Administration began tracking laser strikes in 2005, there has been ridiculous 1,000% increase in the number of laser pointing/aircraft incidents. Last year, 3,960 laser strikes against aircraft were reported-an average of almost 11 incidents per day.
Interfering with the operation of an aircraft has long been a federal crime, but the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 specifically made it a federal felony to knowingly point the beam of a laser at an aircraft. The new law lowered the threshold for prosecution and the trend is on the rise for jail time in these cases, the FBI stated.
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