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Protecting Children Online: Using Research-Based Algorithms to Prioritize Law Enforcement Internet Investigations

Award Information

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Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2011, $766,574)

There is an increasing public and professional concern about Internet sexual offending as reflected in increasing law enforcement cases and clinical referrals. The number of cases and the overarching goal of protecting children require law enforcement to prioritize cases. The proposed project will use data from Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) task forces across the United States - offender characteristics, crime characteristics, and online behavior - to develop empirically-based algorithms to assist law enforcement in prioritizing (1) cases involving production of child pornography over possession/distribution; (2) cases involving online luring for the purpose of meeting the minor to commit sexual offenses, over luring restricted to online behavior such as sexual chat or exchanging pornographic images; and (3) cases involving offenders who have committed hands-on sexual offenses against children over cases involving offenders with no known history. The research builds on a current OJJDP-funded project by increasing the number of task forces and thereby sample size in order to develop the algorithms, and adding a new component - a geographical analysis of cases - that will assist decision makers in the allocation of training and resources across the United States in order to combat online sexual exploitation and abuse of children. CA/NCF

Date Created: September 14, 2011