EUGENE, Ore. — After learning about sting operations at a training, Eugene Police detectives decided to begin their own undercover profiles online to find predators in the area.
KEZI 9 News was granted exclusive access to the unit where they shared their techniques and the toll it takes on their psyche. We agreed to hide their identities to ensure confidentiality of any pending investigations.
Detective J and Detective C are in the violent crimes unit, which means typically they’re handling cases like murders and shootings. But ever since they began their sting operations, it’s been nonstop contact.
“One of the trainers discussed how prevalent offenders were in attempting to reach out to underage children,” said Detective J. “Within hours of opening our decoy profiles, someone was contacting us.”
Detectives said it was also just a matter a time when they could receive unrequested, explicit pictures.
“Within a couple messages back and forth, you wil get an unrequested picture of their genitalia,” said Detective C.
In 2020, Eugene Police reported 10 online child predator cases leading to 4 arrests. So far in 2021, that number has jumped to 26 cases with 24 arrests.
Detectives said that number is directly related to the increase in sting operations this year.
“I think the numbers are directly related to EPD command allowing us the time and effort to investigate these cases,” said Detective J. “In the past, we haven’t had the support we had now so we are encouraged to follow up on these cases.”
Tune into KEZI 9 News at 6 for the full special report where we take you behind the screen.