Airport Theft is a Growing Problem

Thefts from airport security checkpoints remain a top concern for frequent fliers, such as student travelers, according to a recent article in the Washington Post.

According to the article, one passenger claimed that a $7,000 wedding ring was stolen from a bin on a conveyor belt of an X-ray checkpoint machine at Boston’s Logan International Airport. The entire area was searched, but there was no ring in sight. Now the passenger is filing a lawsuit against the Transportation Security Administration, seeking reimbursement for the ring and attorney’s fees.

A recent report on msn.com said that since 2003, 130 screeners have been fired for stealing, 53 of them from January to October 18 of 2005. The TSA spokesperson states that “the number of employees fired for theft is an incredibly small percentage.”

Despite the small percentage of thieving employees, it still occurs and is happening more frequently these days.

Howard student Megan Goins had this to say about recent theft reports, “I checked luggage containing a digital camera and attachments for my camera. Upon arriving at my destination there was a slip in my bag stating that it had been inspected by JFK’s independent security contractor, Covenant Aviation Security. The attachments were there, but the digital camera was gone. It was clearly theft. I’m in the process of filing a complaint and a claim. The claim process is technical and designed to make it difficult for you to get back what was rightfully yours, but I’m doing it anyway.”

Students should know that there are precautions that can be taken in order to prevent these events from happening. First, do not place money or valuable items in the bins while going through the metal detector. Place everything in your carry on bag or purse, and if you have neither, still keep rings, money, and credit cards in your pocket unless otherwise advised by the walk-through officer.

If this step is not taken, your bin may goes through the machine while your still on the other side of the detector, placing your belongings out of sight and into someone else’s hands. Sometimes this small action is overlooked and other times you are directed to do so on purpose by the security personnel. So be very aware at checkpoints.

If something does turn up missing at the checkpoint file a claim with the TSA, as well as a local police report.