Investigators with the Los Angeles Regional Internet Crimes Against Children task force posed as young teens online and then arrested those who showed up to engage in sex acts, Los Angeles Police Deputy Chief Kirk Albanese said. Also, parole officers arrested 186 sex offenders accused of violating their parole by possessing child porn or approaching children in public, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Law enforcement officials conducted the operations in Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernardino, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties. However, the number of arrests is expected to increase as police continue to analyze and gather additional evidence, according to news reports.
Officials told the L.A. Times that one in 25 children between the ages of 10 and 17 nationwide have received online solicitations from strangers to meet in person.
“We can’t arrest our way out of the problem,” Arnold said. “Parents and children need to have frank conversations about how to stay safe in cyberspace.”