The FBI has announced a national campaign to deter people from pointing lasers at aircraft, a federal violation which presents danger to pilots, passengers and those on the ground. The FBI is offering a reward of up to $10,000 for information that leads to the arrest of any individual who aims a laser at aircraft. The reward is available for 90 days in all 56 FBI field offices.
Since the FBI and the Federal Aviation Administration began tracking laser strikes in 2005, data shows a more than 1,100 percent increase in the deliberate targeting of aircraft by people with handheld lasers.
The dramatic increase in reported laser attacks in recent years prompted the FBI to create a pilot program aimed at raising awareness and offering a monetary reward in 12 field offices. Since the beginning of the pilot program in February the major metropolitan areas of those 12 field offices have seen a 19 percent decrease in the number of reported incidents.
“Although our previous efforts to raise public awareness have shown early signs of success in reducing the number of laser attacks in those 12 cities, the laser threat remains a problem on a much larger scale,” said Joseph Campbell, Assistant Director of the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division. “We hope to build on our success through this national campaign in an effort to reduce the overall threat.”
The FBI is partnering with the Federal Aviation Administration the Air Line Pilots Association International, law enforcement at all levels nationally and internationally, school resource officers and other stakeholders in its efforts to continue to educate the public about the dangers associated with laser strikes to aircraft. Campaign outreach efforts include digital billboards, radio public service announcements, video, social media, a presence on www.fbi.gov and partner websites and more.
Thousands of laser attacks go unreported every year. If you have information about a lasing incident, or see someone pointing a laser at an aircraft, call your local FBI field office or dial 911.