Don't shine a laser pointer at an aircraft. It is a crime. That's the message from law enforcement agencies that gathered at Bush Intercontinental Airport Tuesday.
"These are small, hand-held laser pointers like these, which have become increasingly popular," said Stephen Morris, the FBI special agent in charge of Houston's FBI office.
He and others gathered to kick off a campaign to make sure you know it is against state and federal laws to point a laser pointer at an aircraft. The campaign will include billboards that read, "Here's a pointer: Aiming a laser at an aircraft is a federal crime."
Houston ranks second in the nation in reported laser strikes on aircraft.
FAA Special Agent Carlos Garcia said, "Quick communications with law enforcement are critical if we are going to stop this dangerous behavior."
Officials say reported cases are going up, with about 11 cases reported daily in the United States. There were nearly 130 cases reported in Houston and nearly 420 in Texas last year.
Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson said, "This is the type of thing that kids do and it's stupid, but it can have deadly consequences."
If you see someone pointing a laser at an aircraft, you can call the Houston office of the FBI at 713-693-5000. You can also submit tips to Crime Stoppers of Houston by calling 713-222-TIPS (8477) or by texting TIP610 plus your tip to CRIMES (274637) or online at www.crime-stoppers.org. You will remain anonymous.
Pointing a laser at an aircraft is a felony. A conviction could mean up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.