Pilots can learn a lesson from the thwarted Times Square bombing attempt in New York City.
“The threat is still out there,” said Craig Spence, AOPA vice president of operations and international affairs. “There are people who still want to do harm to the country.”
But more importantly, alert and informed citizens can blunt the threat.
“People familiar with their surroundings, who notice something unusual and report it immediately can prevent a terrorist attempt,” said Spence.
And that’s the whole concept behind AOPA’s Airport Watch Program. Pilots know what’s happening at their airports, they know their neighbors, and when something doesn’t seem right, they’re in the best position to let law enforcement officials know by calling 866/GA-SECURE (866/427-3287).
According to Spence, a recent study conducted by Daniel J. Benny, Ph.D., the security discipline chair at Embry Riddle Aeronautical University Worldwide, examined the impact of Airport Watch on airports in Pennsylvania and concluded that those airports that implemented the program experienced a dramatic reduction in crime against persons and aircraft. Airport Watch has been lauded in Congress as an example of government and industry working together to prevent terrorism without onerous restrictions or regulations.