Cook County and Illinois law enforcement authorities are stepping up efforts to raise public awareness about the threat of crimes of sexual violence against children on the internet and through social media, Stateâ€™s Attorney Anita Alvarez and Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan announced recently.
Alvarez and Madigan joined Orland Park Police Chief Tim McCarthy at a specialized training for law enforcement officers designed to provide investigators with the most updated technologies and tools that can be used in the investigation and prosecution of cases involving online child sex predators. The training also instructed investigators on how to identify subjects likely to use social networks to exploit children.
The Stateâ€™s Attorneyâ€™s Office administers the Cook County Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (ICAC) which is comprised of multiple law enforcement agencies dedicated to conducting proactive investigations, forensic investigations, and subsequent prosecutions involving crimes of sexual violence against children. The Attorney Generalâ€™s Office administers the ICAC task force in Illinois in every county outside of Cook County.
Through these efforts, the ICAC task forces promote the coordinated investigation of cyber cases and the protection of children.
According to Stateâ€™s Attorney Alvarez, investigators and prosecutors have noticed an increasing trend of internet sex crimes targeting children, particularly those that involve the use of social networking sites such as Facebook.
â€œAs the number of children who use technology continues to soar, the need for education and the commitment to the protection of children who are exposed to online predators must also increase,â€ Alvarez said. â€œIt is imperative that we take proactive steps to educate and raise awareness about the dangers that loom when children are online or using social media.â€
â€œTraining law enforcement officers and raising public awareness about the dangers children face online go hand in hand,â€ Madigan said. â€œWe cannot arrest our way out of this problem, so any solution must address this criminal activity on multiple fronts.â€
â€œWe are very proud to host this important training for investigators throughout Cook County in order to provide our officers and departments with the very best technological tools to protect our children and to target internet predators,â€ said Chief McCarthy.
Alvarez also announced her office will be distributing free parental internet monitoring software designed to help parents track their childrenâ€™s online activities.
The â€œComputer Copâ€ software serves as a quick and easy way for parents to review what their children are doing while using the internet and to assess if they are being exposed to inappropriate or even harmful content.
Stateâ€™s Attorney Alvarez also thanked the Comcast Corporation for their support and for providing technological assistance for the online officer training program.