The Role of Vehicle Scanners in Border Security: A Case Study of the US-Mexico Border
Vehicle scanners have been instrumental in shouldering the responsibility of patrolling border check posts alongside government officials. Vehicle scanning systems are being employed at the world’s busiest land borders, including the one between the US and Mexico and the results are stunning. These systems have played a tremendous role in cutting down activities like smuggling of lethal drugs, arms, explosives, etc. The stunning US-Mexico case study has led to a massive increase in the popularity of vehicle scanners.
In the last few decades or so, the overall rate of smuggling of drugs and weapons has surged exponentially across the globe. Government agencies have found out in their investigations that criminals and terrorists use innovative ideas for evading the agencies and execute their illegal activities. Transporting drugs, weapons, explosives, etc., by hiding them in regular vehicles has been one of the most common ways for criminals to smuggle them across the border. Hence, increased police manpower at border check posts and thorough checking of vehicles has become a common phenomenon nowadays. As far as swift and accurate checking of vehicles is concerned, vehicle scanners have been of huge help for the patrolling officials.
How Vehicle Scanners Help in Checking Drug Smuggling at the US-Mexico Border?
Almost all porous international borders face issues with respect to illegal immigration, smuggling, and arms trade. Also, since the volume of people travelling across the border is so huge, it becomes virtually impossible for patrolling officials and police to check every vehicle manually. Take the example of the international border between the United States and Mexico; the smuggling of drugs that happens through this border has been well-known and has been an issue of contention between the two countries for several years now. What makes matters worse is that it is one of the busiest land borders in the entire world with more than 50,000 vehicles passing through the border every day. In such a scenario, vehicle scanners become mandatory.
A market research report from Research Dive highlights the above-stated crucial need for vehicle scanning systems. It states that, despite having high operational costs, the global vehicle scanner market is poised to grow handsomely in the 2022-2031 timeframe, owing to the increasing demand for full-body vehicle scanners from government and military facilities like border posts and checkpoints. Not only this, but automobile manufacturers also have understood the growing use of vehicles for nefarious criminal activities which has triggered them to employ technologies and security mechanisms in the vehicles themselves.
Advanced vehicle scanning systems have come up in the market which have made scanning easier for the patrolling officers.Smiths Detection’s CIP-300 is a brilliant example which demonstrates the utility of vehicle scanner systems at border security check posts. This vehicle scanner system uses HiTraX X-ray technology which helps in scanning the entire vehicle including its chassis from various angles. Moreover, the image developed after scanning is extremely clear which provides officials with an accurate picture of what’s inside the vehicle without any ambiguity. The most glaring advantage of CIP-300 is the speed with which it scans every vehicle; Smiths Detection, the vehicle scanning system manufacturing company, claims that the system can scan around 100 vehicles per hour! With such latest technologies, patrolling officers at the US-Mexico border have been able to check every vehicle accurately and manage the traffic effectively.
What do Government Officials Themselves Think of Vehicle Scanners?
United States’ Department of Homeland Security which is the main agency manning the border posts between the US and Mexico have confirmed the fact that vehicle scanning systems have played a crucial in breaking the backbone of the illegal drug trade. Various law enforcement officers have claimed that vehicle scanners helped the agencies in seizing more than 4000 pounds of drugs each day in 2019! Such inputs from the government officials themselves have increased the demand for these scanners not just in the US, but also across the globe. Various European countries and developing economies from South-east Asia have been at the forefront of this surge in demand for vehicle scanners. All these factors, along with the growing integration of vehicle scanning systems with advanced technologies like Internet of Things and artificial intelligence (AI) is expected to push the popularity of the system higher in the coming period.
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