WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Ten state and local law enforcement agencies will receive nearly $2.5 million to help combat Internet crimes against children, announced Deputy Attorney General Eric H. Holder. This announcement was made at an Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) law enforcement training seminar held at the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
The grants were awarded by the Justice Department's Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) under its ICAC Task Force program. With these new grants, there are now 30 ICAC task forces nationwide. New ICAC grantees include law enforcement agencies in Alabama, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Kansas, Minnesota, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma and Wyoming. OJJDP had earlier awarded a total of $8.5 million of Fiscal Year 1998 and 1999 funds to 20 ICAC task forces through startup and continuation grants.
"Keeping children safe online is no less important then keeping them safe in schools or on the streets," said Holder. "This can be a difficult challenge, but these grants will provide states and localities with the tools and skills to investigate, prosecute and prevent Internet crimes against children."
More than 28 million children currently go online and industry experts predict that more than 45 million young people will use the Internet by 2002. Law enforcement and prosecutors will be increasingly challenged by sex offenders using computer technology to victimize children.
These crimes present complex technical and investigative challenges for law enforcement. Because few crime investigations begin and end in the same jurisdiction,investigations require close coordination among federal, state and local law enforcement agencies. In addition, evidence collection, interviewing practices and undercover operations must be carefully adapted to meet the technical and legal demands of Internet crimes.
The ICAC program encourages communities to develop regional, multi-jurisdictional and multi-agency responses to Internet crimes. Grant funds will be used to ensure that investigators receive specialized training in Internet crimes, and are equipped with the most up-to-date computer technology. The task forces developed as part of the ICAC program are also designed to become sources of prevention, education and investigative experience to provide technical assistance to parents, teachers, law enforcement and other professionals.
The 20 existing ICAC grantees' collective efforts have led to the arrest of more than 115 people who were using the Internet to sexually exploit children. The grantees have also trained more than 1,000 law enforcement officers and prosecutors. In addition, thousands of children, parents, and educators have received information about safe Internet practices for young people.
"The new task forces will not only protect their communities, but they will also help build a knowledge base of the best methods of combating Internet crimes against children," said OJJDP Acting Administrator John J. Wilson. "Law enforcement and prosecutors from other communities can tap into this knowledge base to help ensure the online safety of their children."
Attached is a chart of the 10 new ICAC grants and a list of the 20 existing ICAC sites. For more information on the ICAC program or other OJJDP programs, contact the OJJDP Website at www.ojjdp.ncjrs.org or the Juvenile Justice Clearinghouse at 1-800/638-8736.
Information about other bureaus and program offices in the Justice Department's Office of Justice Programs is available at www.ojp.usdoj.gov. Media should contact OJP's Office of Congressional and Public Affairs at 202/307-0703.
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After hours contact: Adam Spector at 202/516-6843