NEW JERSEY - Authorities are warning of an uptick in online predators as more children are spending time on electronic devices.
“It is mind-blowing.” That’s how Detective Sergeant Dave Kohler describes the number of online predators coming out of the woodwork during quarantine.
“People stuck at home for a long period of time a lot of time on their hands,” he said.
Sgt. Kohler runs the high tech crime lab for the Burlington County Prosecutor’s office.
“The numbers are up significantly. We almost can’t even keep up, he explained.
Burlington County Prosecutor Scott Coffina says statewide referrals of cyber tips from March through August have gone up 125%.
Parents listen up and get involved as children are spending more time on electronic devices predators can find them. Many apps, video games and websites offers chat features that Can put children in direct contact with strangers, plus popular games like Fortnite.
In the last two months, Coffina says the high tech crimes unit executed 11 search warrants made 10 arrests and has another 10 cases ready to go. Coffina says combating these disturbing cases must extend beyond this office to each individual home.
"We need to do our job relentlessly but the parents need to do their job relentlessly also," he said.
Parents can find helpful resources to help educate themselves below:
National Center for Missing and Exploited Children: www.missingkids.org
The Facebook page of the New Jersey Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force: https://www.facebook.com/newjerseyicactaskforce
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