Effectiveness of Screening Methods for Contraband Recovery

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Passenger profile and x-ray screens are used in tandem to select passenger baggage to search for agricultural contraband at international arrivals at U.S. airports. To test the effectiveness of this system, approximately 5,000 random bags were sampled and searched over a period of 3 months during the summer of 1989. The results are expressed as the number of bags containing at least one item of contraband. Of the approximately 23,000 bags that arrived daily at the main terminal at Los Angeles International Airport, 1.4% ± 0.2% (SEM) or 334 ± 44 (SEM) contained contraband. Profiling selected 7% of the total while capturing 25% of bags with contraband. Subsequent x-ray selected 13% and captured 44%, for an overall recovery of 11 ± 2% by searching 1% of all arriving bags. These results should be applicable to other airports with the same screening system. Calculations indicate that placing x-ray units on the baggage belts should result in a 14% recovery with the same staff and that perhaps 18% may be possible with improved technology and training. Further reduction of non-detected contraband probably cannot be accomplished by searching alone but will require encouraging passengers to reduce such imports.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 1, 1991

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  • Journal of Economic Entomology is published bimonthly in February, April, June, August, October, and December. The journal publishes articles on the economic significance of insects and is divided into the following sections: apiculture & social insects; arthropods in relation to plant disease; forum; insecticide resistance and resistance management; ecotoxicology; biological and microbial control; ecology and behavior; sampling and biostatistics; household and structural insects; medical entomology; molecular entomology; veterinary entomology; forest entomology; horticultural entomology; field and forage crops, and small grains; stored-product; commodity treatment and quarantine entomology; and plant resistance. In addition to research papers, Journal of Economic Entomology publishes Letters to the Editor, interpretive articles in a Forum section, Short Communications, Rapid Communications, and Book Reviews.
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