...Despite Efforts To Boost Security
Brazoria County Judge John Willy said Sunday's incident will trigger a reassessment of security measures at the airport. "We're going to review that and decide whether we do need more," he said. The county already is adding new gates and perimeter fencing, but while the construction work is in progress the gates were left unsecured. Surveillance cameras were operating, but were not monitored. A report last October by the GA Airport Security Working Group said: "Locking hangar doors and aircraft doors to prevent unauthorized access or tampering with the aircraft is important. ... Pilots should make it as difficult as possible for an unauthorized person to gain access to their airplane." Apparently that message has not yet overcome old habits. The report gave additional suggestions for added security: "[Pilots should use] existing mechanisms such as door locks, keyed ignitions, hangaring the aircraft or using an auxiliary lock to further protect aircraft from unauthorized use. Commercially available options for auxiliary locks include locks for propellers, throttle, and prop controls, and tie-downs." According to the Aviation Crime Prevention Institute, airplane thefts are relatively rare. In 2002, 13 airplanes were stolen -- 15 in 2001, and 10 in 2000. While some are taken for joy rides, others are taken for parts or for use in drug smuggling and other criminal activities. Of course, added to that list now is the fear that stolen airplanes will be used for terrorist attacks.