Police work to stop child predators online - WNCT

Police work to stop child predators online

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DOWNTOWN ROANOKE, VA -

With advanced technology you can get almost anything you want with just a click of a button.

But these advancements also make the Internet more dangerous as online predators take crime to another level.

Friday, the Roanoke City Police Department got a 35-hundred dollar computer system to help crack down on online child predators.

It's called "cop in a box." Police say they are essential to stopping sex crimes against children before they happen.

The computer allows police to go online under disguise and monitor and even interact with these predators and locate where they are and what they are attempting to do.

The computers were donated through a  by the safe surfin foundation and it's supporting partner, Moose International.

Its an attempt to bring law enforcement agencies up to speed despite budget cuts amongst police department.

The program was in part developed by the Internet Crimes Against Children Task force, headed up by Bedford County Sheriff Mike Brown.

With 47 years of police work behind his badge, Sheriff Mike Brown has seen more than his fair share of crime. He attests to the fact that criminals are advancing with technology.

"Criminals that we have encountered on the Internet, the ones that go after our children, our young children. Our youngest of children. They are very savvy technically speaking. We sort of have to run to keep up with them," Brown said.

Police are running for good reason. Each year criminals spend $3 billion on buying child pornography. There are over 700 thousand sex offenders in the United States. So with 93% of all children surfing the web today, those kids are a lot of targets for police to protect.

These are alarming statistics that Detective Jason Moore with the Roanoke City Police Department devotes his career to.

"Studies show through the Federal Bureau of Investigations show that a lot of people that collect child pornography has actually acted out and victimized young children. So most people look at it as its not just child pornography, it's a lot more than that,"Moore said.

Thanks to the new donation of cop in a box, Roanoke City Police will now be able to monitor online predators throughout the county and even in the United States.

"As more and more people get online, police departments are feeling the crunch with budgets and stuff and it's training and equipment are essential to these types of investigations and this is a huge opportunity for us," Moore said.

It's the opportunity to protect the innocence of children with one click of a button.

"More computers, more investigators on the street, less sexual predators, less victims. It's simple," Brown said.

Equipment that is helping police stop crimes before they happen to the most vulnerable of people.

To learn more about the Safe-Surfin Foundation visit their web site.

For parents or guardians who wish to learn more about how to keep their kids safe from online predators check out this web site.

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