From a law enforcement perspective, I guess I can see how so-called vigilante justice could be considered problematic. But as a parent, the idea of a group of moms and dads/amateur sleuths posing online as underage girls and starting web chats with pedophiles in the hopes of catching them in their own trap? A group whose efforts have already led to the arrest of seven suspects?! I see no problem at all!
Think To Catch a Predator, except instead of Chris Hansen busting the alleged pedophiles, there's a bunch of pissed-off parents with a video camera. Which is scarier?
I'd say the parents, who go by the name Letzgo Hunting. As the organization's leader -- known only as Scumm Buster -- explains, "We want to protect children, we are parents ourselves and a couple of us have got children who are in their teens -- the same age as the girls we pretend to be."
You go, Scumm Buster!! A noble cause, indeed. Except local police insist the efforts of Letzgo Hunting could actually end up doing more harm than good, warning that such strategies "can compromise ongoing investigations and could spark an abuser to further harm a child or themselves."
A reasonable concern, but at this point, the police should really be thanking Letzgo Hunting for tricking potential sex criminals on video (which gets posted online and turned over to the police as evidence). Since the group formed in January, seven alleged pedophiles have been arrested and 35 suspects are "currently being monitored."
Not a bad track record. And perhaps equally important, Letzgo Hunting is helping to spread awareness and teach parents what to look for and how to keep their kids safe. Says Scumm Buster:
The thing that we've realized is that these people can be anybody -- with some of the videos we've handed to police they've come back and said, "This person doesn't fit the typical profile of a pedophile."
What's also scary is that we've had some men travel 40 or 50 miles to try and meet underage girls for sex. I really struggle to understand how their minds work, it's terrifying to think what could have happened if they'd been on their way to meet a real 15-year-old.
Luckily, they were on their way to meet some real parents simmering with real rage and disgust. (The video below shows a brief moment from one post-confrontation chase.)
Do you agree with what these vigilante parents are doing to catch suspected pedophiles?
Image via DailyMail