On August 9 and 10, 2019 the Graham County Sheriff’s Office, Safford and Thatcher Police Departments, Department of Public Safety with the assistance of Homeland Security working together conducted a covert operation in the Gila Valley.
During this operation two adult males were arrested for a number of felony charges involving the luring of minors for the purpose of sexual exploitation. The suspects are identified as Billy Bishop and Christopher Decker. The operation was a success and the two suspects were booked pending review by the Graham County Attorney’s Office. The Graham County Sheriff’s Office wishes to thank all the agencies that participated in this operation.
Authorities also remind parents to please discuss internet safety with their children and the associate dangers that can and do exist with social media usage.
Online Predator Statistics
- Approximately 95 percent of all Americans between 12 and 17 years old are online and three in four teens access the internet on cell phones, tablets, and other mobile devices (as of 2012)
- One in five U.S. teenagers who regularly log on to the Internet says they have received an unwanted sexual solicitation via the Web. Solicitations were defined as requests to engage in sexual activities or sexual talk, or to give out personal sexual information. (only 25% of those told a parent)
- About 30% of the victims of Internet sexual exploitation are boys.
- Internet sexual predators tend to fall between the ages of 18 and 55, although some are older or younger. Their targets tend to be between the ages of 11 and 15
- In 100% of the cases, teens that are the victims of sexual predators have gone willingly to meet with them.
- There are 799,041 Registered Sex Offenders in the United States (2015).
- Teens are willing to meet with strangers: 16 percent of teens considered meeting someone they’ve only talked to online and 8 percent have actually met someone they only knew online.
- 75% of children are willing to share personal information online about themselves and their family in exchange for goods and services.
- 33% of teens are Facebook friends with other people they have not met in person.
Keeping Kids Safe
According to scholastic.com, if your child is surfing the web, you need to be right there with them – or at least observing from the shore. Communicate with your children. Discuss what they’re doing online and why. Set rules, and talk about them. Then keep talking, since your children can earn more rights and responsibilities as they grows. If they feel comfortable with these conversations, they will be more likely to let you know when they run into an online bully or stumble upon inappropriate content. While keeping kids safe, be a role model with your own Internet habits, since your child is likely to emulate your behavior.
These basic rules apply to keeping kids safe online; visit Commonsense.com for age-by-age tips.
- Limit usage. Permit your child to have free online time (i.e.: 30 minutes right after school) to instant-message friends, play games, or visit social networking sites, but make it a rule that family time starts with dinner. After that, the computer is used for homework and it’s an IM-free zone.
- Keep kids in sight. Have the computer centrally located. Your child is less likely to browse questionable content if she knows Mom or Dad (or her brother or sister) might walk by at any second. This helps you monitor time spent online, chosen activities, and resultant behavior.
- Do your homework. Check his browser history to know where your child goes online, and check the sites regularly. Use security tools and privacy features — whether offered by your browser or Internet service provider or purchased separately — for extra protection.