LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com/AP) — Mayor Eric Garcetti pledged Thursday to boost efforts to secure Los Angeles International Airport in response to a report that ranked LAX near the top of a list of U.S. airfields plagued by perimeter breaches.
Speaking on KNX 1070's "Ask The Mayor" segment, Garcetti said he wasn't surprised by an Associated Press investigation that found LAX had the third highest number of cases of intruders hopping perimeter fences or even crashing cars through gates at U.S. airports since 2004.
In all, a total of 268 perimeter security breaches were recorded at 31 major U.S. airports between Jan. 2004 and Jan. 2015, according to the Associated Press. At least 82 of those incidents occurred on the airfields of the international airports serving San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Jose and San Diego.
Noting that the suspects were caught in all 24 breaches at LAX, Garcetti told KNX 1070's Charles Feldman and Tom Haule the report's findings were still "disturbing".
"It doesn't surprise me that we're in the top three given that we're the second-busiest airport in the United States, but that's disturbing to see," said Garcetti. "All it takes is one person who can get through and do something."
Officials expect to have the installation of Perimeter Intrusion Detection System at LAX to be completed over the next year, according to the mayor. The system includes electronic sensors designed to detect potential intruders before they can scale the airport's fences.
One man - identified by officials as Christopher McGrath - breached LAX security eight times between April 2012 and March 2013, according to the Associated Press. He was eventually sent by a federal judge to a medical facility in Missouri.
Garcetti told KNX 1070 that officials should find a way to keep tabs on McGrath and other serial intruders.
"There's no way you can track every face that comes in, but there should be a way for law enforcement to follow up with folks who are repeat offenders after a second time," he said. "We should be tracing these folks and making sure they don't come back."
(TM and © Copyright 2015 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2015 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)
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