Nanaimo RCMP are investigating more child pornography cases each year as reported incidents rise. (Photo submitted)

Child porn investigation numbers climb in Nanaimo

Nanaimo RCMP ask public to report child porn incidents as city’s annual investigation numbers rise

Nanaimo RCMP child pornography investigators scour the internet for evidence to put violators in prison as this city’s reported child porn incidents rise each year.

Another week and three more files landed on the desk of the corporal in charge of the Nanaimo RCMP general investigation unit, which has the arduous task of overseeing all child pornography investigations.

According to an RCMP press release issued Thursday, the number of reported incidents continue to increase each year, from 15 in 2016 to 29 in 2017, 42 in 2018 with an additional 25 received, so far, in 2019.

The shared co-operation and expertise of the British Columbia Integrated Child Exploitation Unit and other police agencies across North America, IP addresses, websites and e-mails, provide the digital evidence necessary to pursue individuals who possess and distribute pornographic images of children.

“What it means is that, if you are going to websites that contain images of child porn, your IP address will be flagged. [The unit] also monitors various sites,” said Const. Gary O’Brien, Nanaimo RCMP spokesman, in an e-mail.

Recent sentences handed down in provincial court in Nanaimo of six and 10 years and a lifetime registration on the national sex offender database, sends a strong message to offenders, police say. Staff Sgt. Harvey Legary, Nanaimo RCMP’s plain clothes commander, warns that people involved in child porn activities can expect a knock on their doors by officers armed with a search warrant. Virtual private networks cannot hide their digital thumbprints and they will be outed and go to jail, police say.

“Investigators often hear, ‘it’s just a picture,’ but they couldn’t be more wrong. It is in fact an image of a real person whose life will never be the same. Simply looking at these horrendous images continues the vicious cycle of abuse and re-victimization. It must stop,” the release notes. “With advances in technology now, offenders have nowhere to hide and are quickly exposed and held accountable for their actions.”

RELATED: Theft, mischief, child porn cases on the rise in Nanaimo

The investigations are time consuming and require countless hours of reviewing and cataloguing often thousands of images of children being sexually exploited. The ages vary, some victims are just infants while others may be in their teens. The toll the investigations have on investigators can be significant and for that reason, mental health checkups and peer-to-peer support is essential, according to police.

“It’s tough, but it pales in comparison to the long-term impact it has on the victims and their loved ones. For that reason, we push through,” said Legary.

People with knowledge of anyone who possesses or distributes child pornography are asked to call the Nanaimo RCMP at 250-754-2345. To remain anonymous, contact Crime Stoppers at www.nanaimocrimestoppers.com or call 1-800-222-8477.



photos@nanaimobulletin.com
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