SOUTHWEST MISSOURI — 2020 set a new record for the Southwest Missouri Cyber Crimes Task Force.

We break down the growing number of internet child crimes in Southwest Missouri.

CMDR. Chip Root, SWMO Cyber Crimes Task Force, said, “2020 caused so many issues for so many people and law enforcement was not immune to that.”

For Chip Root and the Southwest Missouri Cyber Crimes Task Force, it meant a very busy 2020.

“Obviously there were more children at home. Schools weren’t open; the offenders, they those who were seeking to exploit children – they had more disposable time. They in turn, it gave them greater access to children.”

The Task Force opened 989 cases, a record for the operation. That led to 192 child victims and a surprising trend among those accused of taking advantage of them.

“The increase that has stood out to me is the amount of female offenders that we’ve identified.”

Detectives went through more than a thousand cell phones and computers, a task that’s increasingly more complicated.