Federal law enforcement officials are now enlisting the public’s help to catch sex offenders. Homeland Security officials say the public can start by downloading Operation Predator to your iPhone. It’s a new application the department has developed to gather tips about perpetrators of child sex abuse.
Operation Predator gives users a real-time notification when a sex offender anywhere in the country is evading authorities. Once a picture or recording of child sex abuse is displayed online, homeland security agents crop the image to capture the face of the abuser and post it on the iPhone app for the general public to see.
“And what it does is it gives a photograph of them, where they are from and it describes briefly what they’ve been charged with,” Tim Ballard says.
He’s a special agent with Homeland Security Investigations. He says the app also allows users to quickly send a tip about suspected child sex abuse.
“There is a tip line,” Ballard says. “But the public isn’t necessarily knowledgeable of that tip line. It’s not something that they can recall easily and know who do I call, what do I do, do I call 911, do I call the police, who do I tell about this specific problem. So having an app on your phone, it’s just immediate. It’s easy. You click on it. You send the information and it’s done.”
Homeland Security Officials say agents have to convince a judge the images are authentic and a crime has been committed before a picture can be posted on the app.
App users will also be alerted when offenders have been arrested.