COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Detective Scott Schneider is one of the investigators who helped arrest dozens of suspected child predators in Colorado in recent weeks.
He’s a member of the Colorado Springs Police Department’s Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, which led several agencies in the two-month investigation known as Operation Broken Heart.
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“Social media has changed the online predator,” Schneider said. “It gives them online access to youth. And, since social media is carried through online apps, they can target them 24-7.”
While Schneider could not elaborate on specifics of a particular case, he said the task force often focuses on social media and other online sites when tracking predators. This is one of the main reasons the ICAC was created.
“Unfortunately, my job is not going away,” Schneider said. “The technology is always changing and challenging us.”
Schneider said parents and adults can help stop these crimes from happening by constantly monitoring the online activity of our children.
“Advice I would give parents is, ‘You wouldn’t allow your child to put a padlock on their door,'” Schneider said. “So, make sure you know their passwords on their social media.”
He said if you notice suspicious activity, report it.
“Every month we get cyber tips coming in about online enticement,” Schneider said. “For instance, last year we had 2,600 tips come in to the state.”
Schneider said they investigate all of the tips they receive. If ICAC doesn’t do it themselves, it’s delegated to another agency.
To report suspicious activity, go to cybertipline.org.