Wednesday, February 9, 2011
Help Me Howard: Airport Parking Lot
When you fly out of an airport, there is no doubt security seems to be everywhere, but what about the garage where you left your car? One frequent flier wonders, which is why he called Help me Howard with Patrick Fraser
WSVN -- You may go to the airport once in awhile. It's a way of life for Fernando Sosa.
Fernando Sosa: "My line of work causes me to travel pretty much all over the world to visit my clients."
And when you fly all the time, you become very familiar with security.
Fernando Sosa: "Security is pretty tight at airports virtually at almost every country I have ever been to."
Security is tight inside the terminals, but Fernando says not beyond that.
Fernando Sosa: "I gotta tell you Patrick when I walked out of the elevator and looked at the car I couldnt believe it I said this is ridiculous at the airport."
Fernando returned to Miami International Airport to find the taillights and the tow cover stolen from his Volkswagen. Fernando called it disturbing.
Fernando Sosa: "Not disturbing that they stole the taillight, not disturbing as far as how much its going to cost to replace them, disturbing in the fact that we are in a secured area.
After the 911 terrorist attacks, cars were searched before you were allowed to park in the garage and crooks couldnt get in. Now those days have passed. Now you can just drive in, and Fernando says so can the crooks.
Fernando Sosa: "We have a couple of bumbling thieves that can just waltz in and take two tail lights out of a vehicle and nobody sees anything."
Fernando says he was told another WV had the taillights stolen the same day his car was hit. He always thought the garage was as secure as the airport terminal. Learning differently worries him.
Fernando Sosa: "If you were an intelligent terrorist organization, how difficult would it be for you to come in here and put a fertilizer bomb on this parking garage and that parking garage blow them both up simultaniously? That would be catastrophic."
Well Howard, Fernando brings up an unusual question. The government has beefed up security in the terminals. Do they have to make the garages secure as well.?
Howard Finkelstein: "Yes, but they dont have to make it as secure as the terminals. Every airport has a security plan which is approved by the TSA, but what exactly does that security plan involve regarding the garages They dont release it."
When Miami-Dade Police gathered the statistics, they showed there were 63 criminal incidents in the Mia parking garages in the last year. That included 10 stolen cars and 12 reports of vehicles burglaries.
An airport spokesman told me that we have patrols, we have cameras, that the garages are as secure as possible. We are sorry this happened, but there is a possibility of incidents happening in any place in America, and Howard says Legally the garages seems to be secure enough.
Howard Finkelstein: "If you had 10 car thefts and 12 car burglaries in a mall parking lot, the property owner would be on notice and required to do something. But in a huge parking facility like MIA, that is a small number so odds are the airport is not responsible."
Fernando says its not about the money its about the safety of parking garages just a few feet from the terminal.
Fernando Sosa: "I would like to see more cameras. I would like to see as much security in the parking garage as we have inside the airport. I am sure alot of people are not going to like it but i am pretty much used to it anyway."
Patrick Fraser: "Can't blame a person for wanting to make a place safer. The question is can we afford to do it or not afford to do it? By the way, Fernando did ask the people who maintain the garage to pay for his taillights. He has not heard back yet. I am told odds are he wont get a check in the mail.
Plane to see you got a problem parked in your lap? Let us secure a solution. We will break into a lawbook and steal an idea for you figuratively, of course.