FRANKFORT, Ky. (LEX 18) — Kentucky State Police announced Wednesday it assisted in 114 cybercrime arrests in 2020.
The KSP Electronic Crime Branch is a team of 16 detectives and nine civilians. In conjunction with the Kentucky Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, it responded to more than 3,000 cybercrime tips leading to 707 completed investigations.
The investigative unit handles a variety of cybercrimes but focuses primarily on vulnerable youth as a partner of Kentucky ICAC.
“I want to thank the dedicated detectives and staff of the KSP Electronic Crime Branch and the law enforcement agencies on the ICAC Task Force for being a member of Team Kentucky. The work they do day in and day out is hard, tough and at times can be emotionally draining, but they do important work for Kentucky’s youth to help provide a better and safer state for our children to grow up in,” said Gov. Andy Beshear.
KSP Lt. Mike Bowling said police are beginning to see predators use more sophisticated techniques to connect with children online, and in some cases, they impersonate children around the victim's age.
“Predators are using online games and social media messaging platforms to draw kids into sexually explicit conversations where they will eventually coach them to share inappropriate photos and videos of themselves,” he said.
Bowling says not all tips lead to an arrest but that they take them all seriously.
“Most of us who work in this branch are parents ourselves and I think that drives us to be more diligent. We know that every child is just a ‘click’ away from potentially falling prey to these criminals,” Bowling said.
The KSP Electronic Crimes Branch would like to make parents aware that one of the best resources they can utilize to help protect and educate their children from online predators is the Netsmartz website. The website has helpful resources, videos and tips for all ages available at no cost.
Citizens can report internet crimes against children confidentially by clicking here.