SAN DIEGO — Members of local law enforcement agencies are teaming up to prevent internet crimes against children.
They hope if teens and their parents hear one victim’s story, others will avoid dangerous scenarios.
“Hi, my name is Alicia and at the age of 13 I was lured and abducted from my home by a vicious internet predator,” Alicia Kozakiewicz said during an introduction in a new public service announcement Thursday.
The SANDAG Task Force and the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department feature Kozakiewicz’s story in two PSA’s.
One is aimed at parents and the other targets teens.
“He held me captive in a basement dungeon chained by the neck,” Kozakiewicz said. “He tortured and raped me and filmed his crimes to share my pain and degradation online.”
Unfortunately, her story is not farfetched. According to the PSA, one in 25 youths receive online sexual advances where the solicitor tries to meet them in person.
“Our office alone has handled 50 cases [like this] this year as compared to 29 last year,” San Diego County District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis said. “As the internet has exploded, so have the opportunities for predators.”
The PSA’s warn parents that there are 624,000 child pornography users nationwide and thousands in San Diego County, which is another reason the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force is getting more aggressive.
“These investigators from all of these agencies are exceptional at what they do and they will find these predators our there,” San Diego Sheriff Department spokeswoman Jan Caldwell said. “This is a critical message that kids need to hear and it’s a reminder to parents.”
Officials are reminding parents to keep the computer in a central place so they can monitor what their kids are doing online.
Parents should also know the websites their kids are visiting and teach them about internet safety.