LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- A Southern California task force that aims to protect children from internet predators recently made more than 140 arrests during a sting operation timed with the return of kids to school, officials said Wednesday.
The task force covers five Southern California counties, with the Los Angeles Police Department taking the lead role.
They targeted adults, many of them on parole or probation, who may have been attempting to prey on children for sexual abuse and exploitation through the internet.
The arrests made during the week of Sept. 6-12 including 110 counts of possession, distribution, manufacturing of child pornography. There were 18 parole or probation violations and a handful of other charges that included sexual abuse of a child, statutory rape and pimping.
The Los Angeles Regional Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force has been around for almost 25 years, as part of a federal program run by the Department of Justice.
The task force relies heavily on tips from the public. It averaged about 24,000 tips a year in 2020 and 2021 and has already passed that number this year, on pace for 36,000 by the end of December.
Law enforcement officials held a press conference Wednesday to provide tips and remind parents to keep an eye on their children's internet activities.
"So what can parents do?" said Capt. Jeff Bratcher with LAPD. "Number one, be aware and educate yourself. Number two, educate your child. Number three, monitor your child's internet usage."