Historic Border Patrol Badge Artifact

The U.S. Border At Night, Part 1

While much of the U.S. / Mexico border is a dangerous place during the day, it becomes a place of great violence at night. Most illegal aliens cross the border at night. Most of the ranch burglaries, assaults, and murders are perpetrated along the border at night.

Because the USBP is underfunded, the Agents lack the kinds of small vehicle mounted night vision equipment needed to adequately perform their duties.

What our Agents do have are their years of training and their instinct for survival. The Agents face drug smugglers, gang members and even Mexican Army troops trying to cross into the U.S. Certain gang members are trying to improve their lot within their gang and try to murder Agents if for no other reason than to rise higher in their gang structure. Those psychopaths actually stalk the agents — sneaking up on them from behind and attacking even in large groups.

In some places the Agents have their vehicles attacked with Molotov Cocktails.

Tijuana Border

One of the real problems with the present double or even triple barrier system is that the agents can become trapped between the barriers. It may be easier for the attackers to escape over the fence than for the Agent to escape their attack. The nearest gate — for access or escape — can be half a mile away or more.

Some portions of the U.S. / Mexico border are patrolled by Agents with sophisticated Forward Looking Infrared, or FLIR, night vision equipment. This equipment does not use even faint starlight to see but rather depends upon the actual body heat of the criminal. It uses the difference between the temperature of the ground and the temperature of the criminal to detect and then display an image.

In the certain urban and high traffic of the border there a few camera towers which provide two FLIR cameras on each tower. One camera will be mounted on a “pan / tilt” base and scan east, and the other will scan west. Many of these FLIR cameras are built by a single vendor.

The camera systems have been impemented with essentially a zero time delay between image in the camera and image arriving at the distant monitoring site. Each camera uses a dedicated datalink, not the Internet.

FLIR tower

Here you can see a camera tower with four cameras. Two of the cameras are standard video and two are FLIR.

Along much of the un-fenced border the USBP can only use commercial delivery trucks as a base for their equipment. On the backs of those trucks they mount a simple lifting device with the FLIR camera at the top. In operation the lifting device will raise the camera twenty feet in the air where it can be panned and tilted to scan the border for smugglers, and worse.

U.S. Border Patrol FLIR Camera

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