After a successful trial program aimed at deterring people from pointing lasers at aircraft — by rewarding those who provide information about individuals who engage in this dangerous crime and aggressively prosecuting the perpetrators — the FBI is expanding the campaign nationwide.
“Aiming a laser pointer at an aircraft is a serious matter and a violation of federal law, said Joe Campbell, assistant director of the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division. “The public awareness campaign we launched in February has been effective in reducing the number of incidents, and our hope in expanding the program is that people will think twice about illegally using these devices.”
A key part of the publicity campaign is reward money. The FBI will offer up to $10,000 for information leading to the arrest of any individual who intentionally aims a laser at an aircraft.
“We want to encourage people to come forward when they see someone committing this crime, which could have terrible consequences for pilots and their passengers,” said George Johnson, a federal air marshal who serves as a liaison officer with the Bureau on laser issues.
The original initiative, which began nearly four months ago, took place in 12 FBI field offices where “lasing” incidents are prevalent. Since then, there has been a 19 percent decrease in the number of reported incidents in the major metropolitan areas of those offices.
To watch a video about lasers pointed at aircraft pilots, click below: