Police probe reveals ‘disturbing’ online trade in child porn in B.C.

RCMP uncover 1,200 instances of B.C. residents using peer-to-peer networks to transfer child porn photos and videos

Police say they uncovered more than 1

RCMP say a six-month investigation last year uncovered 1,228 incidents of B.C. residents illegally sharing “troubling” child pornography, including photos and videos of child sexual abuse, using peer-to-peer networks.

New crime rate data released today by Statistics Canada show child pornography cases reported by police more than quadrupled from 300 in 2013 to 1,271 in 2014.

But RCMP Insp. Ed Boettcher said the numbers don’t necessarily reflect a spike in actual activity but rather a better baseline estimate following the project by the B.C. Integrated Child Exploitation Unit.

“It was certainly eye opening to me,” Boettcher said. “It more accurately reflects the the scope of the issue.”

Officers with the B.C. ICE unit had tracked internet addresses of B.C. computers trading in known illegal material using online networks.

It was the first broad sweep of its kind and revealed what Boettcher called a disturbing and tragic level of activity.

“These are crimes against children, they’re serious and they result in life-long emotional scars,” he said. “The internet is forever.”

The surge in activity uncovered was not matched by a major rise in culprits caught – a total of 107 accused pornographers were charged last year, up modestly from 2013.

But Boettcher said more are expected as police continue their investigations.

He said the probe has led to charges against 18 accused and two have already been convicted.

Violators who hide behind a computer screen can expect to lose their anonymity when they’re caught, he said.

“Our initial investigation provided us a rough location of where these offences were occurring. We are now pursuing these investigations,” Boettcher said.

“For those that think they can engage in this type of criminal act and hide, you should know that we have the expertise to find you.”

He also urged residents and business owners to monitor their computers for illegal activity and use strong password protection to secure wireless networks so they can’t be used for criminal file-sharing.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A past extreme weather response shelter set up for women inside Surrey’s Nightshift Street Ministries. (Photo: Chris Paul/nightshiftministries.org)
Homeless people in Surrey face ‘shocking and scary’ scenario this winter

Last winter there were nine Extreme Weather Response shelters in all of Surrey and White Rock. So far, during this pandemic, there are only five lined up for the coming winter

File photo
Surrey Mounties seeking dash-cam footage of Whalley road rage fight

Two men are alleged to have stabbed one another

The RCMP helicopter. (File photo)
Suspect escapes after police pursuit through Surrey, Langley, Abbotsford

Police chase involved two stolen vehicles, including one taken in Mission

IIO Chief Civilian Director Ron MacDonald. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Police watchdog concludes Mounties didn’t shoot Fleetwood teen at strip mall

IIO finds tragic death of teenager ‘not the result of any actions or inactions’ by the Surrey RCMP

Emergency crews shut down White Rock’s Five Corners district on Feb. 19, 2020 after an altercation left an elderly man in critical condition. (File photo)
Trial dates set in White Rock manslaughter case

Proceedings against Ross Banner, 71, set for June 2021 in Surrey Provincial Court

With local MLA Adam Olsen looking on, BC Greens leader Sonia Furstenau said a Green government would convert BC Ferries into a Crown corporation Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Green leader Sonia Furstenau promises to convert BC Ferries back into Crown corporation

Promise comes Monday afternoon with five days left in campaign

A passer-by walks past a COVID-19 testing clinic in Montreal, Friday, Oct. 16, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Canada ‘yet to see’ deaths due to recent COVID surge as cases hit 200,000

Much of the increase in case numbers can be attributed to Ontario and Quebec

Police confirm human remains were found in a recycling bin in Vancouver on Oct. 18, 2020. (Black Press Media file photo)
Human remains found in recycling bin floating near Vancouver beach

Police asking nearby residents to see if their recycling bin has gone missing

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson visits a North Vancouver daycare to announce his party’s election promises for child care, Oct. 9, 2020. (B.C. Liberal Party video)
B.C. parties pitch costly child care programs in pandemic

B.C. Liberals say they’ll deliver on NDP’s $10-a-day promise for lower-income families

A B.C. man decided to create a website to help people find family doctors accepting patients. Because Victoria is considered high-demand, clinic openings can’t be posted publicly. (Unsplash)
Vancouver Island man starts website that connects B.C. residents with doctors

Nanaimo man started project to help people find family physicians accepting patients

Voting station at Tzeachten Hall in the riding of Chilliwack-Kent on the first day of advance voting in the provincial election on Oct. 15, 2020. (Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. VOTES 2020: 380,000 British Columbians head to polls in first 4 days of advance voting

Some of highest voter turnout so far has been seen on Vancouver Island and in Shuswap

Most Read