Cyber Crimes Task Force sees drastic increase in crime

The Cyber Crimes Task Force, based in Joplin, is seeing a drastic jump in crime.

From investigations to evidence seized and arrests made, there were some big numbers last year for the Cyber Crimes Task Force based in Joplin.

"They're a very active group and have been very successful in the past year,” says Capt. Trevor Duncan.

They logged 540 cases, up 70 percent from 2016.

"What we saw last year was that they served over 150 search warrants and they actually had a 129% increase in arrests made compared to previous years,” says Duncan.

Cell phone searches were up 60 percent, with investigators examining eight terabytes of data. Their cases can include terroristic threats against schools, but primarily focus on child sexual predators.

"So primarily what we're speaking about is child pornography,” says Duncan.

The Southwest Missouri Cyber Crime Task Force also grew in size last year, expanding from 14 counties to 22. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children also played a role in the uptick of reports, passing along 239 cyber tips, leading to 20 arrests. More importantly, 53 child victims were identified and rescued.

"So a lot of these crimes are behind the scenes a lot of these crimes are more proactive on our part they're doing investigations, finding information that people aren't necessarily aware of a lot of these crimes are coming through Joplin one way or another; but they're not just contained in Joplin,” says Duncan.

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