The FBI’s new “laser strikes” poster.
In response to an increasing concern about individuals firing laser pointers at aircraft (aka “laser strikes”), the FBI has expanded its new $10,000 reward program to the entire United States, including Guam and Puerto Rico. Anyone providing the FBI with information that leads to the arrest of someone who perpetrates a laser strike could receive thousands of dollars.
In February 2014, the federal agency began the reward program in FBI field offices where “laser strikes against aircraft are prevalent.” Those cities included Albuquerque, Chicago, Cleveland, Houston, Los Angeles, New York City, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Sacramento, San Antonio, San Juan (Puerto Rico), and the Washington Field Office.
It may seem like a silly thing, but laser strikes against planes, helicopters, and other aerial vehicles have become an increasing epidemic nationwide. Since the FBI began keeping track in 2005, there have been more than 17,000 laser strikes—one-fifth (3,960) in 2013 alone. During the first three months of 2014, the FBI reported an average of 9.5 incidents daily.
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