West Shore RCMP says their Serious Crime Unit has been primarily focussed on dealing with cases of child pornography over the last year.
In 2022, there were a total of 39 child pornography distribution and production cases. This represents a 105% increase from 2021, when there were 19 cases reported to police.
“The officers in the Serious Crime Unit are extremely dedicated and invest enormous effort into investigating these terrible crimes,” said Sergeant Thana Hodge, West Shore RCMP Serious Crime Unit.
“Though the number of these investigations appears to be increasing year over year, the unit takes some comfort in these recent convictions.”
Over the last seven months, West Shore RCMP’s work has led to six convictions of local sex offenders.
In September 2022, a 28-year-old woman was convicted of luring a child under the age of 16-years-old and two counts of sexual assault. She was sentenced to 3.5 years in jail. Police say this investigation took 1.5 years to complete.
In November 2022, a 40-year-old man was convicted of being in possession of child pornography and he was sentenced to 18-months jail with two years probation. West Shore RCMP’s Serious Crime Unit spent approximately 2.5 years to complete the investigation.
Police say that in December 2022, a 30-year-old man was convicted of both distribution and possession of child pornography as well as counselling others to commit an offence after a one year investigation. He was sentenced to four years in jail.
At the year’s end, in December 2022, a 28-year-old man was convicted of sexual assault and sexual interference. After a two year investigation, he was sentenced to around two years in jail.
In the new year, in January 2023, West Shore RCMP were responsible for arresting a man that led to an 18-year jail sentence being given to a man convicted of sexual assault, invitation to sexual touching, possession and production of child pornography. This investigation took approximately one year to complete.
The latest conviction came just last month, in February 2023, a 33-year-old man was convicted of possession of child pornography. His sentence was only a seven month conditional sentence order and 18-months probation. Police say the investigation took approximately 8 months to complete.
“Child Pornography investigations take anywhere from months to several years to complete as they are complex in nature and rely heavily on policing resources,” said Cpl. Nancy Saggar, Media Relations Officer for the West Shore RCMP.
“Investigators are almost always required to obtain production orders, search warrants, conduct surveillance and use the skills of Tech Crime Specialists to analyze enormous amounts of digital data.”
As child pornography and sextortion cases rise, it is important to note that statistics show young men are equally if not more susceptible to falling victim to these crimes.
The provincial government is working on passing a law that would crack down on sextortion and distribution of intimate images.
Police want to remind the people of the West Shore that help is available if victim’s have been living in silence of the crimes committed against them.
Resources and crime reporting are available through this online portal.