Southwest Missouri sees jump in cyber crime


SOUTHWEST MISSOURI — The Southwest Missouri Cyber Crimes Task Force saw a big jump in crime in 2019.

What are the numbers?

We’re talking about a double digit increase in reported internet crimes against children.

That’s 899 cases logged in 2019.

Detective Chip Root, SWMO Cyber Crimes, said, “It was another record breaking year for our task force.”

A 37% increase in cases opened with the Southwest Missouri Cyber Crimes Task Force.

That includes an increase in the number of suspects arrested.

“Those 114 people impacted the lives of 804 children and those span the entire globe. 132 of those were local southwest Missouri children. The rest of them uh were exploited by these local offenders all across the planet.”

Their investigations included a forensic examination of 547 cell phones and another 190 computers, searches which aren’t easy or quick.

“It literally takes weeks to examine one computer. It could take an entire day just to examine the phone if we can get into it, don’t have to use techniques to defeat a pass-code or something like that. So it’s a very time consuming and technical part of our job.”

They also work with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, getting more than 500 tips about potentials crime in Southwest Missouri.

“It’s an overwhelming amount of investigative activity that has to go into each one of those.”

Detectives add that get more and more difficult, with some of the new encryption and other techniques criminals are using to try to stay out of jail.

There’s more on how the task force operates follow the link below.

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