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Police cracking down on online child sex predators

5:33 PM, Apr 19, 2013   |    comments
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. --First Coast News is delving into a topic that scares parents. It's the topic of online child sex predators.

What are police doing to crack down on them? How do you truly protect your child?

Consumer reporter, David Williams, spoke to an undercover Jacksonville Sheriff's Office deputy for answers.

It is a story you'll see only on First Coast News.

As long as there is internet, authorities said online child sexual predators will be a problem.

"We're seeing more and more cases of children being online," JSO Detective Snyder said. "Unsupervised and with that, comes predators that are online also."

Predators that officers like Detective Snyder are working to fight. FCN is not showing his face because he's an undercover agent with JSO's Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.

"Our ultimate goal is to protect kids," he said.

Working with state and national authorities, they monitor social media networks. Snyder said they see possible child exploitation cases come in daily. He went on to explain that more than 50 tips a month come from Washington, D.C.

In late March, according to police, 15 men including a St. John's County bus driver were arrested. They are accused of trying to solicit children for sex.

"If he is found guilty, he should be locked up and they should throw away the key," said a neighbor, after word of the arrests spread in the area.

First For You, how do you protect your child? Snyder said control your child's access to the home computer.

"Know all of their email accounts that they would have and they need to have passwords to each one of those," he explained.

Also, know what your child is doing online.

"With a child, it's not about invasion of privacy," Snyder said. "It's about safety of that child."

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children's website has links to tools and resources to prevent and report child abuse.

There is a child abuse prevention walk on Saturday April 20th, in Hastings, Florida which is in St. John's County.

It starts at 8 a.m. at the Shell Regan Community Resource Center at 303 McClung Avenue.

On-site registration begins at 7:30 a.m.

Donations will be accepted and used to support child abuse prevention efforts in the southern St. John's County Area.




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