White House to Install Spikes on Lawn Fence

In an attempt to fend off would-be intruders, the National Park Service plans to install temporary steel spikes on top of the fencing surrounding the White House.

CBS News reports that in conjunction with the Secret Service, the National Park Service intends to install half-inch “pencil points” to prevent people from climbing over the fence. A temporary measure, the agency labeled the spikes a “removable anti-climb mechanism.”

The spikes will be installed on the tips of the fence at a five-degree angle. The installation proposal was approved on April 16th by another agency, the U.S. Commission on Fine Arts.

“The interim solution enhances security without affecting the visitor’s experience,” the National Park Service said in a statement. “A timeline for installation is not yet available, but we are working expeditiously on this improvement.”

The proposed installations come after a series of high-profile break-ins in the White House. Last September, Omar Gonzalez climbed over the fence, ran past the north lawn and managed to enter the Executive Mansion before being caught by the Secret Service. This March, two men were apprehended by security after attempting to unlawfully enter the White House, according to The Daily Beast.

People aren’t the only intruders the White House has had to content with. In January, a man who lived a few blocks away from the White House unintentionally landed his friend’s 2′ x 2′ personal drone (or “quadcopter”) on the White House lawn, according to the New York Times. The man, who was inebriated at the time, was not charged with a crime.

The spikes will have to be approved by the National Capital Planning Commission, which is set to meet on Thursday. Assuming they are approved, installation will begin shortly.

The White House is also considering permanent security measures, including overhauls in pedestrian areas, parking lots and access points, and of course the fence. The National Park service claims that the permanent installations, if approved, will have to be “climb delay and blast” resistant. Also in need of approval by the US Commission on Fine Arts and the National Capital Planning Commission, the installations could begin as soon as the summer of next year.

The temporary and permanent fence installations come at an opportune time, since the U.S. fencing industry is expected to grow 7% annually. By 2018, the industry is expected to earn $9 billion by installing more than 875 million feet of fencing.

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