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CA: Reports of online child sex abuse surge amid pandemic

[ – 5/22/20]

Law enforcement officials in Los Angeles and across the country have been overwhelmed in recent months by a surge in tips about online child sex abuse, with social media platforms and other service providers flagging explicit content and suspicious interactions at an alarming rate.

With schools closed, youth activities canceled and kids spending more time online under stay-at-home orders related to the COVID-19 pandemic, sexual predators have ramped up their efforts to solicit pictures and videos, officials say.

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, a clearinghouse that disseminates tips to law enforcement, took in 4.1 million reports of child cyber abuse in April, a fourfold increase over April 2019, said John Shehan, head of the center’s exploited children division.

In March, the center received more than 2 million reports, more than double what it received in March 2019.

The surge has slowed in May, Shehan said, but the volume has remained above average.

“It was definitely a huge increase compared to the year prior, and has put a huge strain on law enforcement around the world, who are dealing with a pandemic and all of these reports coming in at the same time,” Shehan said.

The Los Angeles Police Department’s Internet Crimes Against Children unit, which processes tips from Shehan’s organization for five area counties before referring them to local agencies, received nearly 3,000 tips in April, up from 1,355 in March, said Lt. Anthony Cato, the unit’s commander.

More than half of the tips fell under the LAPD’s jurisdiction.

Read the full article


Join the discussion

  1. Eric

    Let me interpret that: Law enforcement increases online sting operations in hopes of snaring people spending more time on the computer due to stay at home orders.

  2. Harry

    ” 4.1 million reports of child cyber abuse in April” What kind of abuse was it and by whom? I got my money on children by children and most are not sexual. How much of these reports have been collaborated? Maybe 1 out of 70. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children are campaigning for more money and nothing else.

  3. David

    Gotta keep the panic going, right??
    Because “With children stuck at home and away from their friends and teachers, reporting of suspected child abuse and neglect has fallen off dramatically”, officials have noted.
    Since the great majority of sexual offenses against children are committed by someone known to the child ….and those are not being reported….. they turn to the most convenient and timely form of “stranger danger”: “the scary dark interweb is coming to get your children!!😱”

  4. NorthEastPENN

    Just another way for The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children to justify trying to receive more funding. “Stranger Danger”, look out for “white vans” etc – stir up fear and get more money.

  5. Dustin

    That the claim comes from NCMEC in the first place tells me its pretty dubious.

    • David

      @ Dustin: Yup, it’s just like that typical claim that
      “99.999%* of sexual assaults** are never reported”. Well if they’re “never reported”, then how does one come up with these bogus numbers??
      *And you can pick any percentage you like – because if it can’t be proven or disproven, the figure should be considered conjecture.
      ** And, when in doubt, redefine what is considered sexual assault! Whistling? Cat calling? And immodest stare? Why not? – If it boosts the numbers!
      (Apologies to all, I think I had too much cynicism with my coffee this morning!)

  6. Saddles

    Abuse, Abuse, Abuse so what is abuse. Even Harry came up with something that makes a good point. Are computers abused, isn’t explortation abuse, or is calling someone a Son of a Pig abuse today. What about intent of abuse as in many of these internet situations. So how many abuses are their in a sting operation.

    Is closing the mexican border abuse by governmental athority or does man actually know abuse. Sure we have this computer today and who gave the person the wisdom to invent this computer. Put it iin prospective and you will know who’s abusing today. I’m sure everyone can understand that. Nothing wrong with kids or adults using the internet but who is still in control of things.

    Yes we have police that do these things and entice and sure they know their glame plan and intent. We all as the victim don’t even understand in many ways but if you “listen” than you understand. Yes these ordeals can get confusing but God is their in the good times and the bad times.

    Exploiting can take on many forms or who exploited the lindbergh baby. Even Al Copone wanted to help from prison. All in all these registry ordeals are exploiting and inducing by false persuasion of inducement. Its more of a come on type of ordeal.

  7. Jackson

    Now they call it “online child sex abuse.” It went from looking at dirty pictures of minors to possessing cp on your computer to now you’re sexually abusing those children by looking at those fotos, and oh its a violent crime too. The NCMEC & the victims rights industry are sick puppies for teaming up with fearmongering politicians that support draconian internet crime laws. What are these people going to do when “real crime” goes back up? Are they going to keep filling the federal pens with half of the offenders having done something on their computer? The fact that these “cybertips” keep rocketing up every year should tell these ‘rights’ idiots something. Those laws ain’t working. And once violent crime dramatically starts rising (and it will) if we stay at 20% unemployment because of covid, state and federal governments are going to start shelving some of these pet cybercrime projects pushed by vic rights people because states have to concentrate on getting & filling prisons with the big boys, the computer guys can wait.

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