Crime - Sacto 911

Laser pointing at aircraft in Sacramento less after FBI crackdown

A pilot project that included the Sacramento region has resulted in a reduction of dangerous laser pointing at aircraft in participating Federal Bureau of Investigation field office regions.

The Sacramento region was one of a dozen areas nationwide participating in an FBI reward program aimed at deterring people from pointing lasers at aircraft.

(Here’s a video of a Sacramento suspect directing a laser pointer at a helicopter arrested by police on the ground)

Since the launch of the pilot program on Feb. 11, the major metropolitan areas of the 12 field offices have seen a 19 percent decrease in the number of reported incidents.

The FBI offered a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of anyone who aimed a laser at an airplane or helicopter. The other FBI field offices participating in the pilot program were: Albuquerque, Chicago, Cleveland, Houston, Los Angeles, New York City, Philadelphia, Phoenix, San Antonio, San Juan and Washington, D.C.

On Tuesday, the campaign was extended nationwide, offering the $10,000 reward for the next 90 days in all 56 of the FBI’s field offices.

Last year, 3,960 laser strikes were reported nationwide. Lasers pointed from the ground into an aircraft cockpit can temporarily blind pilots.