Attorney General Jim Hood Announces Results of “Operation Broken Heart III” at Conclusion of Internet Safety Awareness Month
Attorney General Jim Hood announced today the results of “Operation Broken Heart III,” part of a nationwide investigative operation to intensify efforts to identify and arrest accused child sexual predators.
In Mississippi, the Attorney General’s Cyber Crime Unit, the Mississippi Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force and its affiliate law enforcement agencies conducted the operation. The Attorney General’s Office leads the ICAC Task Force in the state. Across the country, more than 3,000 federal, state and local law enforcement agencies participated in the two-month long operation with the purpose of arrests, as well as internet safety education and outreach.
“With the rise in online predators in Mississippi, our office and the 61 ICAC task forces across the country work hard daily to identify, arrest and prosecute the individuals who are harming our children by exploiting them online,” Attorney General Hood said. “Through collaborative investigations such as Operation Broken Heart, our efforts toward the ultimate goal of keeping our children safe are strengthened.”
During this year’s operation, the Mississippi ICAC Task Force entities executed 23 search warrants resulting in 12 arrests of individuals throughout the state. Some of those search warrants were issued for property of individuals that have not yet been arrested. In other cases, multiple search warrants were issued to the same defendant. The forensic examiners of Attorney General Hood’s Cyber Crime Division examined more than 35 terabytes of digital media.
“By arresting and prosecuting alleged child predators across the state, we are sending a clear message that we are dedicated to working together to bring these perpetrators to justice,” Attorney General Hood said.
The Attorney General’s Office formed the state’s ICAC task force in 2007. The task force is dedicated to enhancing investigative responses to offenders who use the internet, online communication systems or computer technology to exploit children, as well as, improving the forensic analyses of electronic evidence. In addition, the task force focuses on educating the public and training law enforcement affiliate agencies. The Mississippi unit has conducted numerous internet safety presentations and training courses.
“As a father, I worry about how the internet has become a refuge for pedophiles and child pornographers targeting our young people,” Attorney General Hood said. “This is an area where we cannot fall behind the curve. My office is committed to making sure parents and teachers are equipped with the knowledge and ability to keep up with the latest technology and keep our kids safe. It is imperative that we keep a close eye on what our children are doing online and who they are talking to.”
As Internet Safety Awareness Month, observed each year in June, concludes, Attorney General Hood provided these tips to help guard children against online child predators:
- Talk to your child about their activities online and caution them not to share certain information over the internet.
- Be familiar with popular chat rooms or social networking sites such as Facebook and always maintain access to your child’s online account.
- Teach your child the responsible use of the resources on-line and show them how to delete and/or block harmful e-mails, photos or messages.
- Keep computers in a common room in the house, not in your child’s bedroom, and consider instituting a “media curfew” limiting the time they can use the computer or internet.
- Report abuses or threats to the Attorney General’s office and your internet service provider.
Anyone needing to report a cyber crime can call the Attorney General’s Cyber Crime Unit at (601) 576-4281. For more cyber crime tips and information about the ICAC Task Force and Attorney General Hood’s continuing efforts to crack down on sexual predators, visit www.agjimhood.com.