Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard says it’s not your imagination. The number of sex crimes against children, including child pornography, are on the rise.READ MORE: CDC: New Listeria Outbreak Tied To 23 Illnesses, 1 Death
He blames the Internet.
“I think that it has proliferated because of the exponential increase of where that contact and how that contact can be made,” Bouchard told WWJ Newsradio 950’s Sandra McNeill.
“Instead of the old kind of days when they stood outside of places where kids hung out…I sadly believe that the Internet has proliferated the cases and proliferated the ability for someone with a pedophile inclination to do more damage; to reach out and have more victims,” he said.
Bouchard believes it’s not that more people are inclined to this crime — it’s simply easier.
“I mean, it used to be that if a parent had their kids home in their bedroom or in the basement and the doors were locked, basically…they were safe. But now parents never know — even when their kids are home — who they might be talking to real-time, either on a smart phone or on a computer.”READ MORE: Red Wings Hire Lightning Assistant Derek Lalonde As Coach
Bouchard said the increasing number of cases is keeping his Computer Crimes Unit very busy.
“Since I started it we’ve added someone consistently in that unit, and we still can’t keep up with the workload,” the sheriff said. “So, you know, we started with one and two and three and keep adding, but we still can’t keep up.”
Authorities say parents need to keep a close eye on their children while they’re using computers and mobile devices. Some suggest restricting use of the Internet to the kitchen or living room where youngsters can be supervised.
Also, Bouchard says, talk to your kids.
“You can make it age-appropriate; even down to very, very young children,” he said. “You could say, look, if anyone talks about or attempts to touch you in the area that is covered by your bathing suit…you need to talk to Mommy or Daddy.”
Although highly publicized cases like Fogle’s do help to draw attention to these problems, Borchard believes we as a society have to be more tuned in. He also says harsher sentences for child sexual abusers are needed.MORE NEWS: Troubling Arsenic Levels Found At Some Detroit Demolition Sites
“When someone takes away the childhood of an innocent person like this, that the ramifications, the punishment, (should be) more stringent. Sometimes these folks I don’t think get quite the punishment they deserve.”