About 20 child abuse investigators from across Canada sat in a small computer lab overlooking Dartmouth Thursday to learn new ways to catch a child predator.
Chris Purchas, a Nova Scotia RCMP officer with 17 years experience across Canada, trained the investigators with four-month-old technology he hopes will bring online criminals to justice.
“Every child rescued to me is a win,” Purchas said. “It’s an ongoing battle and it’s impossible to arrest every person who possesses a child abuse image, but my job is to identify the ones at the highest risk and to save kids.”
He said this new software will make child predator investigators’ jobs much more efficient.
The technology cannot be disclosed, but Purchas said it tracks patterns that appear based on correlative studies done in the United States. These studies have found a correlation between people who look at child pornography photos and stories, and people who actively pursue relationships with children.
“Stories are far more detailed than just a simple picture, so we found correlations that when individuals possess photographs of child abuse and they also possess stories of child abuse, then that individual is at a higher risk to offend against a child,” Purchas said.
He compared someone who downloads child pornography to a baseball card collector.
“An individual who collects baseball cards, if they were given an opportunity to attend a live baseball game, would they not go? That’s a great analogy in my opinion,” Purchas said.
Nova Scotia RCMP Media Relations Officer Mark Gallagher said the province has begun to lead Canada in the fight against child pornography.
“We want to be part of something that makes a difference,” Gallagher said. “The technique that we’re showing the people here today, it’s a cutting edge technique. They’ll be able to go back to their home province and be able to share with all their friends.”