SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) --A Bay Area congressman helped show off some solutions, which already, exist that could prevent another case like the stowaway teen at Mineta San Jose Airport. Yahya Abdi, 15, hopped a perimeter fence and hid in a jetliner's wheel well on a flight to Hawaii.
No one's arguing against tighter security, but what is the best solution? And how much is it going to cost to secure perimeter fences like the one at Mineta San Jose International Airport? Democratic Congressman Eric Swalwell of Dublin would like to find out.
Swalwell found six companies, five American and one Canadian, that have airport perimeter security solutions. He wasn't endorsing any of them, but he'd like to create a pilot program to see if any one or combination of them might close vulnerabilities.
The 15-year-old who hopped the fence at in San Jose was the latest wake-up call that there are gaps in security. "Only once we put these technologies out in the field at these airports can we learn if they're effective and if it's going to be affordable," Swalwell said.
A Southern California company called SensorFence demonstrated how it can detect someone scaling a fence by sound. "The vibration is picked up and transferred to this wave guide here, and that in turn goes to this sensor here, which converts it to an electronic signal," explained Bill McLaughlin at SensorFence Systems.
An algorithm can dial in whether it's a person or an animal, reducing false alarms. The projected cost to outfit Mineta San Jose is less than $800,000.
Another option is a ground-level radar system that works in tandem with surveillance cameras. When an intruder is detected, the camera can then zero in on the suspicious activity and alert a human monitor.
"That gives you the early warning that allows the people who have time to respond. And that's very critical because you'd like to prevent an incident from happening, not just use it for forensics and say, 'Oh okay, now we know who did it,' but not be able to take an active response," said SpotterRF CEO Logan Harris.
Airport officials say police are still waiting for a chance to question the stowaway, Yahya Abdi, but he remains in Child Protective Custody. He could shed important light on how he breached airport perimeter security.