Operation Predator app targets child predators

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by Catherine Holland

Video report by Jill Galus

Posted on September 12, 2013 at 11:29 AM

Updated Wednesday, Oct 30 at 9:30 AM

PHOENIX – If you’re looking for a good tool to help protect your children from predators, there’s an app for that – courtesy of the federal government.

It’s called Operation Predator and ICE Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) developed it.

The goal of app is to identify, investigate and arrest child predators. It provides all kinds of information about known sexual predators, including photos, descriptions, last-known address and news tips.

The app also gives people a way to submit anonymous tips 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

“People have instant access to this,” HSI Assistant Special Agent Lon Weigand said. “We understand that not everybody is by a computer all the time. We understand that they’re not in front of the TV all the time. But they usually have their phone with them – all the time. So, going with this type of smartphone application really provides us a quick response. Response time is critical to the rescue of the child.”

“When children are being sexually abused and exploited, it’s a race against the clock to rescue the child and bring the predator to justice,” ICE Acting Director John Sandweg told Stephan Dinan of The Washington Times. “These investigations are one of our highest priorities, and in today’s world, we need to be technologically savvy and innovative in our approach.”

The app features not only location information, but national and international data, as well.

“HSI is a worldwide leader in the fight against the sexual exploitation of children,” reads the ICE website about the new app. “[W]ith 200 U.S. offices and more than 70 offices overseas, HSI has the ability to follow a case – to rescue a victim or arrest a predator – wherever in the world it may lead.”

Not only does the app keep you informed, it gives you away to report suspicious activity quickly and easily.

"This app makes it easy for the public to report suspected child exploitation in their community," reads the app's description in the iTunes store. "As part of Operation Predator, the public can use this app to help U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents identify and locate suspected child predators, and protect victims from further abuse. Call the HSI Tipline directly, submit a tip online, help identify most wanted suspects, read about the latest investigations and arrests, receive alerts when new suspects are being sought and learn about our partner agencies - right from this app"

Right now the Operation Predator app is available only for the iPhone, but HSI plans to release versions for other platforms soon.

If you don't have an iPhone and want to make a report, you can call the 24-hour ICE Tip Line at 1-866-347-2423 or submit an online tip form at ICE.gov/tips.

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