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Concerns With Airport ‘Soft Target’ Security In Wake Of Fort Lauderdale Shooting

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Friday’s deadly shooting at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport has renewed calls to increase security at so-called “soft targets” within our airports — places like baggage claim or check-in counters.

At LaGuardia Airport, it’s a tale of two security lines. Travelers about to board an airplane can expect rows of TSA metal detectors to go through, but people checking in a few yards away see nothing more than a lone Port Authority K-9 walking around.

Added to the mix is anxiety among passengers.

Traveler Jovannie Sykes says that he’s “a little tense, but I’m hoping for a good day.”

The Port Authority increased security at the three major New York area airports in the wake of Friday’s deadly shooting, but it’s not enough for security expert Manny Gomez.

“We need to be more proactive instead of reactive like we are now,” he tells CBS2’s Andrea Grymes.

Gomez says airports need more law enforcement for their soft target areas where people congregate waiting for luggage. Presently, any member of the public can walk in without being screened at all.

“They look to find where there is the weakest link, and they go there,” New York Senator Chuck Schumer said in a Sunday press conference. ”

A Port Authority spokesperson tells CBS2 they’re always working with the Joint Terrorism Task Force and others to help ensure safe travels.

Fliers are of mixed opinions on the matter.

“I think it’ll probably be a good idea to have security at baggage claim,” traveler Gabby Stein said.

“There’s crazy people everywhere,” Eric Caldwell said. “But I felt very secure traveling the last three days.”

Gomez believes a major obstacle to making these security enhancements is the cost — likely in the hundreds of millions of dollars at least. While some say our airports are safe enough, he believes that money would be well spent.

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