Image: 989 Child Predator Exposures

Attorney General Dana Nessel and Michigan State Police are warning that vigilantism won’t be tolerated.

While vigilantism isn’t tolerated, a local group feels that what they are doing is different and not illegal.

“We don’t actually seek these people out. We don’t harm them in any way,” said Kimberly Jones, with 989 Child Predator Exposures.

TV5 introduced you to 989 Child Predator Exposures in September 2018. They call themselves a civilian watchdog group whose members are on the lookout for online predators.

“We set up various social media profiles on various websites and people message us and they are informed that the person they are talking to is actually underage,” Jones said.

Jones said the people who initiate contact can stop the conversation at any time, but they often don’t. Instead, they are proposing a sexual hookup with someone they believe is a child. That’s when they show up.

Michigan State Police Sgt. David Vergison said this is a bad idea.

“These encounters have turned violent, and these vigilantes have been injured or the individuals that are identified as child predators injured,” Vergison said.

Vergison goes on to say there are multiple steps necessary to process evidence properly and that it’s a job best handled by trained professionals.

“Leave this up to law enforcement to identify, locate and arrest these individuals the right way,” Vergison.

Parents are urged to talk to their children about internet safety. A list of resources is available here.

Anyone who sees suspicious activity should report it to law enforcement. The Cyber Crime Tip Line is available here.

Copyright 2019 WNEM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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