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

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

The 5th Street Bridge requires structural improvements, new coating to repair and prevent corrosion, and deck repairs. File photo
City of Courtenay awards contract for 5th Street Bridge project

The City of Courtenay has awarded the contract for the rehabilitation of… Continue reading

Pumpjacks pump crude oil near Halkirk, Alta., June 20, 2007.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Larry MacDougal
Gas prices jump in the Valley – and experts predict prices to rise even more

“We still could be talking about record prices…”

NIC Practical Nursing instructor Barb McPherson (right) is pictured with student Rebecca Wood in 2018 in NIC’s SIM lab. NIC photo
Learn about Practical Nursing opportunities for Island students

Students interested in exploring a future in health care are invited to… Continue reading

The Comox Valley Cycling Coalition is hoping to see more bike lines in the Cumberland area. Photo by Mike Chouinard
Cycling coalition wants better bike links for Cumberland

Group says members want more connections with Comox Valley

The Courtenay Legion has identified 16 homeless veterans living in the Comox Valley. File photo
Courtenay Legion unites with Qualicum to help homeless veterans

Last year’s Point-in-Time (PIT) homeless count conducted in the Comox Valley identified… Continue reading

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
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

Older rental apartments are prime candidates for renovations, and could result in lost affordable housing stock. (Zoë Ducklow photo)
B.C.’s renoviction overhaul a good start, but won’t preserve affordable stock, lawyer says

And still no protection for people who can’t pay rent due to COVID-19

Activists from the Fairy Creek Blockades hold the injunction application notice which was submitted by logging company Teal Jones to the B.C. Supreme Court. The application, which asks to have blockaders removed from the sites that stop access to cut blocks, is set to be heard on March 4. (Photo contributed/Joshua Wright)
Activists hunker down to protect Fairy Creek near Port Renfrew from logging

Forest company Teal Cedar applies for injunction to remove seven-month-old blockades

(Photo by Marissa Baecker/Shoot the Breeze)
B.C. WHL teams to hit the ice with Kelowna, Kamloops hub cities

Kelowna, Kamloops centres chosen to host B.C. WHL teams for 24-game regular season

The victim of the homicide on Cowichan Lake Road early Monday morning was 17 years old, and was stabbed in the incident. (File photo)
Duncan homicide victim was 17 years old

RCMP report that teenager was stabbed

(File photo)
RCMP arrest man after report of gun-toting threat-maker near Parksville schools

43-year-old man taken into custody; students at nearby schools were asked to stay inside

The machines are akin to ATMs and allow drug users at risk of overdose to get hydromorphone pills dispensed to them after their palm has been scanned to identify its unique vein pattern. (CANADIAN PRESS)
Feds dole out $3.5M for ‘vending machines’ to dispense safer opioids in B.C.

The machines are located in four cities across Canada, including Vancouver and Victoria

Most Read