Watching Those, Who Watch the Luggage...Global Elite Group, Aviation Security Specialists, are Gatekeepers of the Skies

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During this holiday season, the skies just got friendlier. For theft and crime, that is. Global Elite has developed programs to address this.

During this holiday season, the skies just got friendlier. For theft and crime, that is. Global Elite has developed programs to address this.

This is not a new crime pattern, but it is one that is on the rise as airline employees from all parts of the organization, can be lured into the high stakes, high pay rewards of crime using the airlines as a means to ship and distribute illegal goods. Airlines are an easy target when those trusted to handle passengers’ personal possessions are the very ones stealing items. And it doesn’t end there, a low-wage baggage handler for a U.S. airline in New York, was recently arrested as part of a bigger sting involving cocaine-trafficking, as reported in the New York Times on December 9, 2011. The worker, according to the Times, had many helpers from fellow baggage handlers and crew chiefs who handled the deliveries, escorting the contraband right into the baggage claim area for the next level of distribution.

The emergence of this type of crime is not a surprise to airlines or law enforcement officials. “There are many reasons airlines are targeted but the two that stand out the most, which need to be addressed is access and opportunity,” explains William McGuire, President and CEO, Global Elite Group Inc., Garden City, N.Y. Global handles the security protocols for over 28 airlines worldwide addressing a host of security issues including theft and distribution of controlled substances using airline resources. “We perform security assessments with all our clients to address their goals and to point out where weaknesses exist that they may not have been aware of, that could develop into a problem,” McGuire explained. Global Elite Group has a security presence at 15 domestic airports and six international locations and understands the security process as well as what actions to take to address this growing problem.

Airlines become targets from crime rings and other organized criminal networks because of their ability to move the goods through the shipping lanes, relatively undetected when the network of insiders has been established. Global Elite Group works with customers to reduce the likelihood of this happening with its security programs which includes deploying security technology such as access control and video monitoring as well as conducting thorough employee investigations and sting operations. “Our agents have all been through stringent industry training including TSA training, most have both a military background as well as a law enforcement experience. We know what to look for; we know how it starts; and we know how it will go down. The important aspect for the airlines is getting to the problem before it starts and if it has started, ending it,” McGuire added.

The statistics are very revealing, and McGuire feels the airlines will do a better job in the future and employ outside organizations, like Global Elite Group, who have no ties to employees. According to a New York Times article written by Mosi Secret, entitled, In Bags at J.F.K., Handlers Found Niche for Crime, December 9, 2011, Secret writes, “In 2009, the last year for which there is data, the Transportation Security Administration received about 6,750 reports of property missing from checked baggage. Passengers reported the total value of their losses as nearly $5.3 million.” On warm weather flights from the Caribbean, the plane of one airline was used not only to bring vacationers back to New York, but also drugs, according to the Times. “Goods of all kinds are being shipped through to the U.S. using airline assets, not just expensive items handlers can find in luggage but also items that can be stored on the plane, such as drugs,” McGuire explained. Global uses a technology and security professionals to bring incidences down, without opportunity and access, crime has a hard time existing.

Global Elite Group Inc. specializes in all facets of aviation security, security assessments, emergency management, event security, technology services, consulting and training in the government sector, transportation and logistics industries, finance and insurance, energy and utilities, corporations, sports team travel management.


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Katie All