Officers Go High Tech To Fight Cybercrime - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

02/21/05

Officers Go High Tech To Fight Cybercrime

With a mug shot of a woman covering his computer screen, Biloxi officer Donnie Dobbs says, "This individual was charged with prostitution as a result of an undercover internet sting."  After being caught the woman pleaded guilty to the prostitution charge. Dobbs says criminals no longer have to hit the streets to break the law; all they have to do is go on-line. "Any type crime that you can think that's being conducted out on the street today is being conducted via the internet," Dobbs says.

 Drug deals, credit card fraud, child porn. The list goes on and on.  Since 1997,  Dobbs has been assigned to cybercrime. At any one time he works on 15 to 20 cases. "Obviously some child pornography investigations, we've done some pro-active undercover internet investigations involving sexual exploitation of children, we've also worked a coupla cyber stalking cases and some internet fraud cases."

 At the moment identity theft is the big internet crime. Contrary to popular belief, Dobbs says child pornography makes up only a small percentage of his case load. But he says crimes against children are easy to commit. To show us, Dobbs poses as a 13-year old girl looking for an older man. "Here's one, Felix. What's your age Becky?"  In less than two minutes, 15 men from around the country responded. "This is a 54 year old male in Atlanta. He thinks a 13-year old is cool."

 As the information age progresses, Dobbs say so will the need for law enforcers to keep up and fight high tech crime in a brand new way. Dobbs says he works about one hundred cyber crimes each year and he helps other agencies that have similar crimes.

Marcia Hill

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