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FBI, KC agencies warn against shining lasers at aircraft

LAser aircraft
Posted at 1:55 PM, Nov 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-22 14:55:13-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Several Kansas City area agencies are warning the public against shining lasers at aircraft.

The FBI, Kansas City Aviation Department and Kansas City, Missouri, Police Department issued a joint statement on Monday.

The concern is that with increased holiday travel, there could be an increased risk to aircraft.

FBI data shows a steady increase in laser strikes since the agency began tracking the incidents in 2005. In 2010, the U.S. saw 2,836 laser strikes. That number jumped to 6,852 in 2020.

As of Oct. 14, 2021, the Federal Aviation Administration has received 7,186 laser strike reports for the year.

There has also been an increase in strikes in the Kansas City area, with eight incidents reported as of Oct. 29, targeting commercial aircraft at Kansas City International Airport. That's up from three incidents in all of 2020.

Pointing a laser at an aircraft is a federal felony offense with a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Additional charges and fines can be added to that.

The Kansas City agencies did not name any specific incidents in the release.