City Port Security Gets Boost
For the first time ever, ports in the Chicago region have been listed on the top 100 most critical seaports in the country, and along with that ranking has come an influx of federal funding to help improve port security in the region.
For the previous four years, Chicago received just $300,000 in federal funding for securing its ports, but this year the U.S. government is distributing $11.5 million in security funding to the ports, including $7.5 million to Chicago.
The funding will be used to increase the amount of video surveillance at the ports; to enhance communications among local, state, and federal agencies; and to outfit container shipments with intrusion-detection security technology.
As is typically the case at other U.S. ports, only roughly 5 percent of incoming cargo is randomly inspected at Chicago ports, and no cargo containers are X-rayed.
Chicago is also applying for an additional $4 million to equip the Port of Chicago with security and inspection devices. Local officials at the Port of Chicago said that their greatest fear is that the port–which provides access to countless freight trains, long-haul trucks, ocean vessels, and river barges–will be targeted by a dirty bomb hidden inside a cargo container.
Abstracted by the National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center (NLECTC) from the Chicago Tribune (11/29/06); Hilkevitch, Jon.