FBI Targets Use of Lasers to Distract Planes

Silence your cellphone. Save the movie commentary for later. And if you know someone who aims a laser pointer at an airplane, give us a call.

A new FBI campaign unveiled Tuesday targets the illegal use of laser pointers to distract airplanes. For the next 90 days, the bureau's 56 field offices are offering $10,000 rewards for information leading to the arrest of anyone who threatens aircraft in a laser attack.

Federal officials say the deliberate targeting of planes by people with hand-held lasers has increased significantly since 2005, when the FBI and Federal Aviation Administration began tracking such crimes.

In 2010, the Bay Area's three major airports were in the top 10 in the nation's worst-hit areas. The numbers have improved over the last several years.

San Jose International Airport now ranks No. 12, with Oakland International Airport and San Francisco International Airport coming in at 22nd and 23rd, respectively.

In the Midwest, the campaign will be bolstered by public safety messages shown during movie previews at Wehrenberg Theatres, which owns theaters in Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota and Missouri.

NBC Bay Area's Mark Matthews contributed to this report.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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