Posted: Jan 29, 2013 6:47 PM by Alex Labat
Updated: Jan 29, 2013 6:48 PM
The St. Landry Parish Sheriff's Office Cyber Crimes Unit is back online...because according to Captain Megan Vizena, cyber crimes are on the rise.
Capt. Megan Vizena of the St. Landry Parish Sheriff's Office says, "what a lot of people don't understand what a cyber crime actually is. What it is is any crime that uses any electronic device, such as a computer. It can be anything from cyberstalking to cyber harassment...anywhere from identity theft to of course, child pornography and child exploitation."
There have been three child pornography arrest in St. Landry Parish since the unit was reinstated back in October.
Even though cyber crimes include things such as identity theft, fraud, spam, and harassment, the majority of their time is spent tracking down child pornographers.
Capt. Vizena descibes the process as, "Basically we pose as a 12-year-old girl, a 14-year-old boy in a chat room, in a social networking site, however the predator wants to chat. If they open up lines of communication and want to meet that young child, then we engage and that's when they're taken into custody."
These types of investigations aren't cut and dry and can take hundreds of man hours. "Our undercover agents are very familiar with this process. They take their time, this can start within a couple of days, but our best investigations take a couple of months. We can obtain as much evidence as we need to lock in that investigation, but you can go anywhere from a two day, to a three month, to a one year investigation," says Vizena.
Investigators use digital forensics to search computers, mobile devices, the Internet, and databases to nab their suspects. Capt. Vizena says, "If you're a predator, and you're online downloading child pornography, we are going to catch you. We have the capability to do it, and we will."