LAS VEGAS (KLAS) —In our Cyber Safe Parent report, we’re taking a look at how a network of thousands of law enforcement officers are working behind the scenes to help keep your kids safe from predators.
A Cyber Safe parent inquired about how exactly local law enforcement keeps our children safe from predators. It’s called the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (ICAC).
“Our primary goal is to prevent the exploitation of children, our primary emphasis that we look into is those people that are trying to victimize children through what we call child sex abuse material,” Lt. Allen Larsen, Metro Police said.
The ICAC Task Force is headed up by Metro police, working with the FBI, Henderson Police Department, North Las Vegas Police Department, and the Attorney General’s office.
“We do follow up through our various investigative techniques,” Larson added.
The National Center For Missing and Exploited Children offers crucial cyber tips about anyone possessing or redistributing exploitative images.
“We go out, we do follow up, we do search warrants, and we take them into custody,” Larsen added.
In the more extreme cases, it is taken to the federal level where Larson says these people will be looking at serious felonies and serious time.
Larsen says the issue is worse than most people think.
In the effort to protect kids, the ICAC Task Force takes an aggressive and proactive approach.
“We call them predator operations, very similar to what some of the viewers have probably seen in “To Catch A Predator” that used to be on TV, it’s similar to that, minus the media. And we don’t care so much about the shaming aspect of it, as just, apprehending these people,” Larsen said.
The suspect will initiate contact with who they think is a child online, and there is an agreement to meet.
“When they show up to the meet spot with whatever it is they said they were going to bring, they instead find a bunch of cops and FBI agents who arrest them,” Larsen added.
These are some of the worst predators.
Larsen says they refer to it as “shooting fish in a barrel” with how many of these predators are out there and that 60% to 70% of the criminals that are viewing this kind of material are also hands-on offenders.
“It’s very rewarding to know that not only did we put this person behind bars, but we saved anywhere from one or two to potentially dozens of future victims from having to deal with the horror of having to relive that scenario,” Larsen said.