The CPD recently posted a statement on their own social media page regarding this disturbing trend.
“The Casper Police Department is bringing to light a disturbing criminal trend with the goal of better informing parents and guardians so that we can all work together to keep our children safe,” the post began.
The CPD noted that recently, they have seen a rise in sexual grooming between adults and adolescents and mentioned that, specifically, they have been investigating multiple cases in which an adult male contacts an adolescent female online using various social media apps.
“These conversations typically begin casually, but quickly move toward sexual subjects, the exchange of photos, and on occasion, an eventual request to meet in person,” CPD wrote. “This timeline can take days or weeks to progress.”
The CPD stated that they work “tirelessly” investigating these types of cases, but due to the complexity of them, they can be difficult to actually prosecute in a court of law.
“The Department’s goal is always to present strong cases with appropriate recommended charges against alleged suspects to get justice for victims and protect any future victims. However, our goal is also to prevent this type of crime from happening in our community altogether. ”
It’s for this reason that the CPD wants to make parents and guardians aware of these trends, so that they can work together to prevent further victimization.
“If you are a parent or guardian of an adolescent, particularly those between the ages of 13-16, please consider reviewing your child’s phone or electronic communication device regularly,” the statement advises.
Rebekah Ladd, the Public Information Officer with the Casper Police Department said that transparency is key when preventing these types of situations from occurring.
“Parents and guardians should create a safe plan of action with their children regarding transparent phone usage,” Ladd advised. “At the least, know who your kids are talking to, and what apps they use to communicate. Search for hidden apps or those made to looks like different apps. Most importantly, encourage your children to speak with a trusted adult anytime they encounter an uncomfortable situation online.”