Statue Of Liberty Security Screening Proves Tourists Are Well-Armed

10/17/2011 10:39 am ET | Updated Dec 17, 2011

Security officers protecting the Statue of Liberty confiscated a small arsenal of weapons from tourists in the first nine months of 2011.

Visitors to Lady Liberty and Ellis Island must pass through a security screening process similar to those at airports before boarding the ferry system and again before entering the monument.

From the millions of people from across the globe who visited the landmarks this year, authorities managed to detect a wide array of prohibited items.

An inventory showed officers recovered 28 illegal weapons - everything from brass knuckles to collapsible batons to blackjacks.

They also seized nearly 5,300 knives; more than 5,000 other "miscellaneous weapons," including screwdrivers and other tools, and nearly 7,000 cans of pepper spray.

Last month alone, visitors surrendered seven dangerous weapons, 61 cans of pepper spray and Mace, and 588 knives - an average of about 20 blades a day, according to Park Police statistics.

Sergeant Peter Culver, spokesman for the Park Police, explained to The News that most often tourists just don't know any better.

Park Police give visitors the option of returning legal weapons to their hotel rooms or someplace else before returning to Liberty Island. In 2011, Park Police arrested only four people trying to see the big green lady, two for carrying stolen handguns.

Park Police, however, will likely have a much lighter workload for the last two months of 2011 and a good chunk of 2012.

On October 29th, the interior space of the Statue of Liberty will be closed for a massive, $27.25 million restoration and renovation. The statue will remain closed for approximately one year. Liberty Island and the grounds surrounding the statue will remain open to visitors.

Just before the big makeover, on October 28th, the National Park Service will celebrate Lady Liberty's 125th anniversary with a big party on the island. Events include a fireworks display, a flotilla of ships up New York harbor, a naturalization ceremony, and a series of speakers and performers.