Computer Crime Research Center


Cybercrime task force to operate

Date: October 26, 2005
By: Charlotte Eby Journal Des Moines Bureau

ANKENY -- Iowa's law enforcement community is teaming up to fight Internet crimes with a new task force that focuses on crimes against children. A study found that one in five children between the ages of 10 and 17 were targets of a sexual solicitation or approach over the Internet in the last year. Just a fraction of those solicitations were reported to police.

The new Iowa Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, paid for by a federal grant, brings together federal, state and local law enforcement agencies to crack down on cyberspace crimes.

October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month and this week has been declared Keeping Children Safe on the Internet Awareness Week in Iowa.

"Law enforcement works best when we work together -- federal, state and local," said Kevin Techau, commissioner of the Iowa Department of Public Safety.

Lt. Gov. Sally Pederson said many know of the Internet's positive impact on work and home lives.

"At the same time it can be a very negative effect on the safety of our children," Pederson said.

Officials are urging parents to monitor what Web sites their children visit online and whom they might be communicating with in chat rooms.

The state has established three regional centers in Cedar Rapids, Council Bluffs and Ankeny to solve computer crimes.

The task force members are specially trained to inspect a computer hard drive and find evidence that a suspect might have thought had been wiped from memory.

Members of the task force most recently helped out in the homicide investigation of 5-year-old Evelyn Miller, a Floyd County girl who was slain earlier this summer.

Although no one has been charged in the girl's death, her mother's fiance, Casey Fredriksen, has been charged with allegedly possessing more than 1,000 images of child pornography on a computer hard drive.

Members of the task force have also helped train local police and prosecutors about computer-assisted crimes.

Eugene Meyer, director of the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, said the centers, which opened in January, have assisted local law enforcement agencies in more than 200 instances. They have examined more than 140 computers in everything from child exploitation cases to drug and murder investigations.
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