FBI says vigilant parents are key to preventing crimes against children

FBI: How to protect your children from exploitation
FBI: How to protect your children from exploitation(KCBD)
Published: Feb. 25, 2022 at 7:46 PM CST
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - From 2019 to 2021, the FBI investigated more than 200 cases of crimes against children in our area.

More than 80 of those led to a conviction, leading to a combined 270 years in federal prison. That includes three life sentences.

“It kinda highlights how important these cases are and how many children we’ve probably saved as a result of those efforts,” Federal prosecutor Callie Woolam said. “We just have some phenomenal law enforcement working really hard to bring these cases out and get these individuals brought to justice.”

But it takes more than just good law enforcement to stop these crimes. Woolam says it’s a combined effort that serves justice.

“I think vigilant law enforcement, vigilant parents vigilant bystanders are what help bring these cases to light,” Woolam said.

Woolam says in many situations, good awareness by parents can stop a crime from ever being committed. She recommends keeping an eye out for changes in behavior, and checking your child’s electronic devices.

“Parents need to be cautious and check their child’s internet usage,” Woolam said. “Check the cell phone, check whatever computers they have access to.”

She advises parents to stay aware of your child’s texts, photos, videos and apps.

“I know that this may be a tough conversation, but explain to children that things that you send out to the world on the internet, even if it is through Snapchat or something like that, they don’t always necessarily disappear,” Woolam said. “You may think that you’re sending a private message or a private photograph to one individual, but that doesn’t mean that individual is going to keep it private later.”

Woolam says that is how many children end up getting exploited. Staying vigilant puts parents in a position to recognize red flags and take immediate action.

“If you think there’s something suspicious going on, do something about it,” Woolam said. “Call law enforcement. It’s that famous saying of ‘see something say something.’”

For more information on how to protect your child from exploitation visit the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

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