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Seigfried-Spellar said law enforcement officers are inundated with cases involving the sexual solicitation of minors – some interested in sexual fantasy chats, with others intent on persuading an underage victim into a face-to-face meeting.CATT allows the officers to work through the volume of solicitations and use algorithms to examine the word usage and conversation patterns by a suspect.“That way, officers can begin to prioritize which cases they want to put resources toward to investigate more quickly.” Other standout characteristics of sexual predators grooming victims for a face-to-face meeting is that the chats will often go on for weeks or even months until a meeting is achieved.Those involved in sexual fantasy chatting move on from one youth to another quickly.“So, you can then start trying to figure out, language wise, who this person is I’m chatting with.” At some point, she believes CATT could even teach officers to better portray a 10-year-old victim by perfecting constantly changing factors like language, emojis and acronyms.“In these types of operations, our goal isn’t to entrap people,” she said.
This digital forensic tool conducts a language-based analysis to determine the likelihood that the offender is contact-driven vs. It is their hope that this tool will assist law enforcement authorities by enabling them to allocate their limited resources to cases at high risk for contact-driven offenses.
“In these, the offender is initiating, and as they do that, law enforcement is simply responding.
“If officers can respond in a way that speeds up the process, that gets the person off the street sooner compared to waiting eight months to allow a trust relationship to develop.” The CATT project was funded through a grant issued in 2017 from the Purdue Polytechnic Institute. Huchel, 765-494-2084, [email protected]: Kathryn Seigfried-Spellar, 765-494-2439, [email protected] Polytechnic Institute Department of Computer and Information Technology According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC, 2014), online solicitation of minors falls into three categories: 1) sexual, request to engage in unwanted sexual activates or sexual talk; 2) aggressive, involved actual and/or attempted offline contact; and 3) distressing, youths stated they were afraid after the incident.
Seigfried-Spellar said data was taken from online conversations provided voluntarily by law enforcement around the country.
“We went through and tried to identify language-based differences and factors like self-disclosure,” she said.
Although there is a general decline in all forms of online solicitation of minors, with only 3% of youth in 2010 reporting an aggressive solicitation (NCMEC, 2014), the FBI estimates that 750,000 adults seek sex with youths daily (Rodas, 2014).