By Jesse Mendoza
Valley Morning Star
WASHINGTON — A new iPhone app, titled Operation Predator, launched by Immigration and Customs Enforcement allows users to access information about child predators and report tips to law enforcement.
ICE's office of public affairs developed the app with help from special agents from Homeland Security Investigation's Cyber Crimes to receive information about urgent cases involving known "John Doe" predators wanted by the agency.
The app contains information about child sexual abuse and exploitation fugitives and allows users to submit tips online.
Users will also be able to share the information through email or social media.
The investigations are a part of Operation Predator, a nationwide Homeland Security initiative to protect children from sexual predators, sex tourism, Internet child pornographers, criminal alien sex offenders and sex traffickers.
"HSI is a leading federal agency in the investigation of crimes against children. The introduction of a smartphone app will once again put HSI on the cutting edge of law enforcement technology," Janice Ayala, ICE HSI special agent in charge, said.
"No crime affects us more deeply than the exploitation of innocent children. By identifying the perpetrators of these crimes, we are better able to identify and rescue the victims of these predators."
Officials urge users not to attempt to apprehend any suspects they may encounter, but instead report any information about "John Doe" cases or other profiled fugitives via the 24-hour ICE tip-line at 866-347-2423 from the U.S. and Canada; 802-872-6199 worldwide; or through an online tip form at www.ice.gov/tips/.
The Operation Predator app can be downloaded from Apple's App Store, or iTunes, and officials said they expect to expand compatibility to other smartphone platforms in the near future.
McClatchy-Tribune News Service
Copyright 2013 Valley Morning Star