You see dramatic arrests on television when Dateline NBC teams up with Internet watchdog group Perverted Justice. They chat online and wait for the predators to come to a house, set up with hidden cameras. Actors portray what the alleged predators think are thirteen year olds home alone.
While it may not always look like this, the state attorney's general office wants parents to know they are teaming up with local law enforcement. Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott says, "We are targeting these child predators who are using the Internet to prey upon our children. We go into those chat rooms. We go onto My Space and other social networking sites. We have arrested 88 child predators who were using the Internet to set up a situation where they would sexually assault what they thought would have been a thirteen year old girl. Overall, our cyber crimes unit has helped get 500 predators off the streets of Texas."
Abbott came to Lubbock last week to announce a partnership with local authorities. Sheriff David Gutierrez says, "I have spoken with my sheriff staff about looking into a cyber crimes investigation deputy so we can work with attorney generals office with these crimes."
Abbott says, "We share a common goal and that is to ensure this state and this county are safe and protected as can be."
In Texas, a fugitive unit works to track down sex offenders who violate their parole. A cyber crimes unit cracks down on child predators.
Abbott says, "We're here to send a loud and clear message and that is if you're a child predator, pornographer or pedophile, we will find you, we will arrest you and put you behind bars."
But Abbot says it's important parents monitor their child's Internet usage. He says, "It's critically important to understand how to be involved with a child's use of the computer. We're not telling parents or children you can't use the Internet. We're saying you have to use the Internet in a safe way."
Parents needing a lesson in Internet safety can get one Tuesday, October 3rd. Lubbock United Neighborhood Association and the Lubbock Police Department are hosting an informational meeting on Internet safety. It starts at 7 p.m. at the St. John's United Methodist Church, located at 1500 University.
For more Internet safety tips, (click here).
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