FBI Offers Reward To Snare People Pointing Lasers At Aircraft

Up to $10,000 for information leading to the arrest of people who commit 'laser strikes'

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The FBI announced a new rewards initiative to reduce incidents of people pointing lasers at aircraft Tuesday, a phenomenon the bureau says is on the rise.

Under a new regional rewards program, giving information that leads to the arrest of “any individual who aims a laser at an aircraft” could net you $10,000, according to an FBI press release. The reward initiative will run for 60 days. The bureau will also be working with local law enforcement “to educate teens about the dangers associated with lasing.”

Shining a laser into the cockpit of an aircraft can disorientate and even temporarily blind a pilot, according to the FAA. Even pocket lasers can project a powerful enough light to endanger crew and passengers.

According to the FBI, incidents of people pointing handheld lasers at aircraft—or “laser strikes” in the parlance of the FBI—have climbed more than  1,100 percent since 2005 and in 2013 occurred, on average, about 11 times a day.

“Aiming a laser pointer at an aircraft is a serious matter and a violation of federal law,” said Ron Hosko, assistant director of the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division. “It is important that people understand that this is a criminal act with potentially deadly repercussions.”

The FBI told TIME it was not aware of any incident in which a handheld laser being pointed at an aircraft had caused a plane crash.