Incidents of Lasers Being Pointed at Planes Spike; FBI Offering Reward to Catch Culprits

By Allan Lengel

Apparently people pointing lasers is becoming a growing problem.

In response, the FBI on Tuesday announced a pilot program in 12 field offices that will offer up to a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of people who aim handheld lasers at aircrafts. The program will run for 60 days.

The FBI, in a press release, said that the number of incidence has risen more than 1,100 percent since the FBI and Federal Aviation Administration began tracking laser strikes in 2005.  In 2013, authorities recorded 3,960 laser strikes — an average of almost 11 incidents per day.

The FBI said it will also be working with state and local law enforcement to educate teens about the dangers associated with pointing lasers at aircraft.

“Aiming a laser pointer at an aircraft is a serious matter and a violation of federal law,” Ron Hosko, assistant director of the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division, said in a statement. “It is important that people understand that this is a criminal act with potentially deadly repercussions.”

“Shining a laser into the cockpit of an aircraft can temporarily blind a pilot, jeopardizing the safety of everyone on board,” FAA Administrator Michael Huerta said in a statement. “We applaud our colleagues at the Justice Department for aggressively prosecuting aircraft laser incidents, and we will continue to use civil penalties to further deter this dangerous activity.”


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