COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Internet child sex crimes have nearly doubled in Colorado in the last three years.
Startling numbers show an 83 percent increase in child exploitation online since 2016, according to the Colorado Internet Crimes Against Children Taskforce. (ICAC)
KRDO sat down with a sergeant with the task force, who wished to remain anonymous due to his work undercover to catch sex predators. He explained one in seven children are contacted by a predator every single day.
"Anytime you're dealing with child predators, they're going to look and be involved in places where there are children," he explained during the interview.
We saw it most recently in El Paso County with Patrick McMahon, the Ellicott High School teacher charged with sexual exploitation of a child following a child porn investigation.
Another case of note was Robert Stambaugh's, a Colorado Springs firefighter arrested for his involvement in a child porn ring. He's accused of sharing explicit photos of pre-teen children in a group who openly bragged about assaulting other kids.
The list goes on and on.
So why the big spike? ICAC's sergeant explains it has to do with advanced technology.
"We all have supercomputers in our hands, and children who are younger and younger are getting that tech and easier access to it," he said, referring to smartphones.
That easier access includes chat apps.
"Apps to look out for are Snapchat, Kik, Meet Me, Instagram, and Pinterest," the ICAC sergeant said.
All of these platforms have chat rooms, which make it easier for predators to track their victims. Common questions that are asked include: "Where do you live? What school do you go to? What hours are you usually home? Where are your parents?"
If your child has noticed any unusual behavior online, report it to Internet Crimes Against Children website.