Fresno County Sheriff's Office seeing increase in online predators

Cyber tips about online predators targeting kids have skyrocketed nationwide.
FRESNO COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- Cyber tips about online predators targeting kids have skyrocketed nationwide.

Cybercrime experts with the Fresno County Sheriff's Office have been trying to track down those predators with undercover operations.

In 2019, they received 2,000 tips across the county.

In 2020, that went up to 3,000, more than a 50% increase.

Investigators believe this troubling increase is because criminals are becoming more aggressive now that kids are on the web for longer periods of time.

"A child used to spend two to three hours on the internet. Now they're spending eight to ten hours a day not just school work but also wanting to socialize," said Fresno County Sgt. Chad Stokes.

Detectives say they are continuing to take proactive steps to keeps local kids safe.

Last August, detectives went undercover as teenagers and identified more than 30 predators who were trying to meet up with children for sex.

They made 34 arrests in their operation Covid Chat Down.

The sheriff's office encourages parents to closely monitor their child's computer and internet activity at all times.
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