CALIFORNIA—California parents and guardians are being urged to be more aware of their childrenâ€™s Internet and social media usage.
After an extensive investigation conducted in Los Angeles, Ventura and Orange counties, San Bernardino and Santa Barbara, the Los Angeles Police Department arrested over 275 child sex predators; some of which are believed to be a result of negligence. “Operation Broken Heart” transpired for more than one month during the month of May.
Authorities used a technique from the 2004 reality TV show, â€œTo Catch a Predator.â€ They pretended to be 12 to 14-year-old children online, and arranged to meet up for sexual favors, where they arrested those who attempted to engage with the children when they arrived.
“Allowing your child to go on the Internet or social media unsupervised is like letting them walk down a dark alley in the middle of the night in a bad part of town,” said special agent at the Department of Homeland Security, Claude Arnold in a NBC4 interview.
Of the 275 child sex predators arrested there was a teacher, a substitute teacher, a masters student, a U.S Army solider, a Los Angeles Fire Department explorer, a 64-year-old computer programmer and a retired Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputy; The number is expected to increase as the investigation continues.
This investigation not only exposed the child sex predators, but removed stereotypes attached and revealed that the offenders or perpetrators come from all walks of life, socio economic background, race and class.
â€œTheyâ€™re community leaders, white-collar professionals and even law enforcement personnel. The common denominator in most of these cases is the Internet. It has become the preferred playground for child sex predators,â€ said Arnold.