2,000th ar­rest made by child preda­tor units

On­line, con­victed sex of­fend­ers tracked since 2003

Austin American-Statesman - - METRO & STATE - By Lind­sey Bomnin lbomnin@states­man.com; 445-3812

Last week’s ar­rest of Kirk Bran­don Muller marked the 2,000th ar­rest by the Cy­ber Crimes and Fugi­tive units cre­ated by At­tor­ney Gen­eral Greg Abbott in 2003, Abbott said Thurs­day.

Muller, con­victed in 1993 for in­de­cency with four chil­dren, was ar­rested for be­ing in con­tact with a young girl, a vi­o­la­tion of his pa­role, Abbott said.

The Fugi­tive Unit tracks down pre­vi­ously con­victed child sex of­fend­ers, like Muller, who have vi­o­lated their pa­role. In­ves­ti­ga­tors in the Cy­ber Crimes Unit comb through In­ter­net so­cial sites pos­ing as young chil­dren and look­ing for child sex­ual preda­tors.

These kind of pre­ven­tive mea­sures, Abbott said, are im­por­tant be­cause of the ev­er­chang­ing tech­nolo­gies that chil­dren use and that child preda­tors use against them.

Based on pic­tures and in­for­ma­tion on sites such as MyS­pace and Face­book, po­ten­tial preda­tors can gauge the vul­ner­a­bil­ity of a child, Abbott said.

“It re­quires our of­fi­cers to con­stantly stay on their toes with this new technology,” Abbott said. “It pro­vides us with some tools to be able to track down these preda­tors.”

Since 2003, Austin ranks third statewide for the num­ber of ar­rests at about 300, with Hous­ton and Dal­las com­ing in first and sec­ond, he said.

Sex­ual preda­tors are more likely to re­peat their of­fenses than any other crim­i­nal pop­u­la­tion, Abbott said, but “they are be­ing watched. They are be­ing tracked. We are fol­low­ing what they’re do­ing,” he said. “We want to get them off the street be­fore they get to hurt the vic­tim.”

cre­ated Cy­ber Crimes, Fugi­tive units.

Greg Abbott

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