Investigations to protect the innocent

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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA TV) - Hardly a week goes by that the public doesn't hear about child pornography allegations in KOTA Territory. The frequency is troubling, but internet cops are prowling the internet too, hunting for problems before they pop up on your kid's screen.

South Dakota works with each state, trading information and using multiple fronts to catch these predators.

"We have several different investigative techniques, out of our investigators across the state, undercover investigation or investigations in monitoring networks that are commonly used by predators to trade and traffic child pornography. The images themselves are viewed by the investigators to determine if they do fit the statuette for child pornography and if they do they then work towards identifying the person that was in possession and trading of those images," said Brent Gromer, Commander for Crimes Against Children in South Dakota.

The number of cases across the state have stayed consistent over the last several years. But, the trend changes to where these individuals live and where they view child pornography pictures online.

"Children can have something bad happen to them and it might be years before they end up reporting," said Dan Wardle, Supervisor for Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Cases, "So, the increased numbers could be that just that we have had a lot of children decide now is the time that they want to disclose and tell what happened to them."

Majority of the alarm comes from how many children are being manipulated into sending pictures to others online.

"We've seen an increase in the number of solicitation cases, where offenders are actually contacting children online in an etempt to try and get them to manufacture child pornography online. And that's a scary trend that we've been seeing. So, the number of cases hasn't changed, but certainly the nature in the investigations have," said Gromer.

Protecting your kids can be simply talking to them and educating them, along with watching and monitoring what they do online so you can effectively keep your kids safe.