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Technology & Innovation

This Federally-Approved App Aims To Catch Child Predators

More than 82,000 people downloaded the Operation Predator app in the month after its September release. One official calls it a new way “to [turbo-charge] our traditional tip lines.”

What’s the Latest Development?

Last month, a branch of the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency launched Operation Predator, a free app designed to inform the public about wanted child predators and provide a means for them to deliver tips and data. Within the first 36 hours of its release, a suspect was apprehended in Michigan because of information obtained through the app, and within a month, more than 82,000 people had downloaded it. Currently it’s only available for iOS devices; ICE officials say they plan to make it available for other platforms at some point.

What’s the Big Idea?

Operation Predator represents the latest attempt to take advantage of developing technology to trap criminals, who are themselves using technology to trap more child victims. Passaic County (NJ) chief assistant prosecutor Joseph Del Russo says the app is a new “way of turbo-charging our traditional tip lines. You need to go where the people are…Anything that gets information out, and gets information out to a broader group of people, is good for law enforcement.”

Zoran Karapancev /

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