There was some unusual law enforcement activity in Sarasota yesterday.
Police vehicles from Polk, Pinellas, Manatee , Clearwater, Northport, Bradenton and FDLE all converged on the Sarasota Police Department yesterday. Usually, this means that another Florida sex sting is in the works. Unfortunately, often men who have no intentions of ever hooking up with a minor get talked into chatting or texting with undercover police investigators. Let me remind you, the best way not to get arrested is to simply not commit a crime. In recent months the police have been running child pornography stings engaging men on the Internet hinting towards an exchange of kiddie porn on peer to peer file sharing programs. Never, no never, receive or transmit child pornography. It is a crime. Do not do it. If someone suggests it, terminate contact immediately. If someone sends you an unsolicited child pornography image you have a problem. If you truly did not intend to receive it, you may find yourself in a situation where you are in possession of something you never intended to possess. I have suspected for years that the police are sending some of the illegal images to entrap people into transmitting images back to them. The police then track the images back to an IP address, get a search warrant and then charge someone with a crime. It is a tough world out there and as much as I would like to believe police do not engage in illegal activity, I have my suspicions.
The latest child sex sting they are running is where a father or an uncle is pretending to have a son or nephew that needs “teaching”. The undercover stings target adult gay men, luring them with a promised encounter with a 13 or 14 year old boy. It is a crime to have sex with an under aged boy. Do not even think about doing it. I am a believer that the best way to lower the crime rate is to encourage people not to commit a crime. The police are getting desperate and when they cannot catch people committing a crime, they simply create one with one of their so called “Operations”. The police have moved away from Craigslist Casual Encounters and are now using a more subtle approach with other adult social media sites. They still troll the adult dating sites like Adam4Adam, Omegle, Backpage and others. Many lonely men fall for the bait and switch and get roped into doing something they would never think about doing. Do your part towards reducing the crime rate. Do not commit a crime. Do not get entrapped.
If you see a minor on the Internet suggesting sex, Flag the ad. Do your part to keep minors off the Internet. Education, not prosecution is the answer. Prevention, not prosecution is the solution. Let’s all do our part.