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Joplin’s 2023 report on cyber crime | #cybercrime | #computerhacker

JOPLIN, Mo. — Local law enforcement asked to track down criminals online say 2023 was a busy year.

It’s the end-of-year report from the Southwest Missouri Cyber Crime Task Force based out of the Joplin Police Department.

They added up to 443 cases closed, which led to a total of 328 child victims of sexual abuse in the local area alone.

“We arrested 71 adult offenders and — you’re finding that these adults, they’re not preying on just one child, they have multiple victims. And that doesn’t even include the ones that are traveling outside of southwest Missouri, to perpetrate a crime against a child in another country or another state,” said Chip Root, SWMO Cyber Crimes Task Force Ofc. In Charge.

Identifying victims and tracking down suspects was based on extensive digital investigation, including 675 devices with 148 terabytes of data analyzed.

“That number never goes down, but the time it takes to image and then examine that, I mean a cell phone, now it’s not uncommon have over a terabyte of storage on that one device,” said Root.

Many times the initial contact with potential victims comes through an app

“Snapchat is a is always a problem for us. You know, Instagram, meet me. Kick is a huge problem. It’s the usual suspects, so to speak, you know, and the thing is, a lot of them have legitimate purposes for them. However, they’re, they’re just not there’s no controls in place to protect children,” said Root.

Investigators added a new digital tool in 2023 that is offering some protection for child victims.

“This new technology allows us to upload those files and then they use this new tool to scrub the internet to search for those specific images and videos and then remove those from the internet,” said Root.

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