Most people think of airport security as the long lines leading to metal detectors, body scanners, and x-ray machines used to carefully search for explosives and dangerous weapons on passengers and in luggage headed for an airplane. However, there is much more to airport security than meets the eye. Perimeter security fencing, for example, is vital to preventing people from sneaking onto airport runways or boarding planes without completing the proper clearances. The Associated Press and other news organizations have been busy revealing just how inefficient some airport perimeter fencing is, and how those security gaps have placed passengers at risk.
The Existing Problem
Not too long ago, the Associated Press published an article detailing the security breaches at airports around the country via inefficient perimeter fencing. Breaches occur as much as once every 10 days, with some incidences leading to intruders getting deep into secure areas before being caught. One man in Chicago went so far as to toss his bike over a fence at O’Hare airport and ride into a passenger terminal.
Examples of Security Breaches
Roughly 39 perimeter breaches occurred in the United States in 2015, and the TSA is being accused of not working harder to prevent such security threats. The TSA, meanwhile, maintains that their perimeters are very safe, and the miles of fences, gates, and guardhouses ensure that any intruders are quickly caught. But the examples available to the public show otherwise.
In April 2012, a woman broke through a perimeter gate at Philadelphia International Airport after attempting to steal a truck carrying $1 million worth of Jack Daniels whiskey. She managed to board a small jet, grab the gun of an officer who responded at the scene, and point the gun at the officer’s head. Thankfully, the woman was disarmed by the officer before she could shoot, but her finger had unquestionably been on the trigger during the standoff. All of this allegedly occurred because the gate guard was not paying attention to see the woman cross onto the tarmac.
There are many other stories like this, including a hooded man who jumped airport fences with steak knives in his backpack and wasn’t stopped until he arrived at a passenger gate. These stories continue to draw attention to the desperate need for airports to create fences that will more efficiently keep away dangerous intruders.