AirTalk for March 18, 2014

Are we spending too much money on airport security?

US-CRIME-SHOOTING-AIRPORT

Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images

A traveller pulls his bags while walking past an LAX sign at Los Angeles International Airport as access roads were closed with flights delayed and cancelled after a gunman reportedly shot 3 people at a security checkpoint on November 1, 2013 in Los angeles, California.

Passengers at American airports have been enduring long security lines and invasive screening techniques for more than a decade now in the name of preventing more incidents of terrorism. But a new report suggests that all the money being spent on airport security might not be worth the cost.

The report published in the March issue of the Journal of Air Transport Management suggests that airports are not good targets for terrorism and therefore it would make sense to actually cut back on some security measures.

The study, titled "Cost-benefit analysis of airport security: Are airports too safe?" relied on data from Los Angeles International Airport before the Nov. 1 attack that killed a TSA agent and wounded several others.

The researchers looked at several potential terrorist attacks at the airport including a gunman and several types of bombs and concluded that it would not be worth the money to beef up security by adding bomb sniffing dogs, permanent vehicle search checkpoints or blast deflection walls at the airports.

Travelers might complain about the extra hassles of airport security but is it still worth it? Is spending vast amounts of money on extra airport security worth the cost given the rarity of these incidents? How much security is too much?

Guests: 

Erika Aguilar, KPCC Crime and Public Safety Reporter - Erika joins us from LAX following LA Mayor Eric Garcetti’s news conference about the “After Action Report” on the November 2013 LAX shooting

John Mueller, political science professor at Ohio State University and author of ‘Overblown: How Politicians and the Terrorism Industry Inflate National Security Threats, and Why We Believe Them’ (Free Press, 2006)

Brian Michael Jenkins, Terrorism Expert and Senior Advisor to the President of the Rand Corporation


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