There have been reports in the Australian media recently of the perils to travellers at Australian airports. This particular peril doesn’t come from terrorists or the like; it comes from thieves at security check in points, unwittingly assisted by airport security personnel.
Video footage has been released of thieves waiting at the other end of the x-ray machine conveyor belts, and taking the property of others. Rings, wallets, watches and the like are all required to be removed, and are easy for nimble fingered thieves to palm and hide without attracting too much attention.
The problem has been compounded by the increase in passengers having to remove their shoes, then later put them back on, and more incidents of passengers being double checked with metal detection wands, even after walking through the gateway metal detector. There are also random explosive tests, drug sniffer dogs, and others.
The results of all these scans is that the passenger’s valuables are sitting unsecured and unattended at the other end of the conveyor belt, usually out of sight of the passenger, sometimes for up to five minutes, and on occasion even longer. This gives thieves more than ample opportunity to steal the unaccompanied valuables.
Even laptops are more regularly being stolen, as thieves can make a quick getaway, and be out of the airport before security or police can be notified. Some security footage has shown thieves wearing long coats, sitting on the laptops, and hiding them under the coats, before walking off unnoticed.
While it is necessary and desirable for passengers to undergo such security, in a world fraught with the spectre of terrorism, it is clear that better systems is needed to ensure the security of passengers personal belongings.
27th May 2008