Deputies receive training in cybercrimes
July 23, 2014 at 2:23 a.m.
Updated July 24, 2014 at 2:24 a.m.
• 4 percent of 10- to 17-year-olds online received an aggressive sexual solicitation in which a solicitor asked to meet them somewhere, called them on the telephone or sent them offline mail, money or gifts.
• 34 percent of those children had unwanted exposure to sexual material, such as pictures of naked people or people having sex.
• 27 percent of the youth who encountered unwanted sexual material told a parent or guardian. If the encounter was defined as distressing, 42 percent told a parent or guardian.
• A study about child sexual victimization indicated that as many as 1 in 5 girls and 1 in 10 boys could be sexually victimized before adulthood.
Where to go for help
To report online solicitation, contact the CyberTipline at 800-843-5678 or visit cybertipline.com.
By the numbers
The CyberTipline received reports of the following online incidents between March 1998 through December 2012.
• Child pornography - 143,594
• Child prostitution - 497
• Child sex tourism - 39
• Child sexual molestation (not in the family) - 538
• Misleading domain name - 169
• Misleading words or digital images on the Internet - 466
• Online enticement of children for sexual acts - 1,074
• Unsolicited obscene material sent to a child - 138
With the ever-growing charm of social media, Victoria County Sheriff T. Michael O'Connor said predators are keying into the Internet now more than ever to target children.
Thirty-four percent of children ages 10 to 17 have received unwanted exposure to sexual material, according to key online victimization research presented by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Four percent of those children online received aggressive sexual solicitation.
To better prepare, the sheriff's office and the governor and Texas attorney general's offices hosted a two-day training for more than 80 people representing 22 local, state and federal agencies.
The training was held Tuesday and Wednesday at the Dr. Pattie Dodson Public Health Center.
"We used to say the only problem was a stranger coming up to you, and we taught children, 'don't talk to strangers,' but since the social media aspect has come in, we need to stay in tune to what's current and be aware to push that out," O'Connor said.
Training included workshops on technology-related crimes, awareness of service agencies that offer resources for such crimes, information about cases currently being worked and a breakdown of the degrees of crime for both missing and exploited children.
O'Connor said he sent deputies from patrol, investigations and the special crimes unit to the training to better educate all areas of the department.
"It's important that we're in tune and that we stay ahead to be prepared for these types of situations," O'Connor said. "We want to be advanced with this issue so it does not grow into an issue the community would be concerned about."