Los Angeles law enforcement officials Thursday touted the success of a wide-reaching child exploitation investigation that resulted in more than 275 arrests in May, reports the city’s Times. “Operation Broken Heart” involved 62 federal and regional law enforcement organizations across five counties. “The dirty old man stereotype no longer applies,” said Homeland Security Special Agent Claude Arnold. “The perpetrators in these cases come from all walks of life.”
Throughout the operation, detectives often pretended to be minors to lure predators into sting meetings. In addition to arrests, officers invited the public to a series of discussions and workshops on Internet safety and about 600 people attended the sessions. “Parents are naive,” said one police official. The workshops helped parents understand what their children are doing online, and what apps and devices they are using. With the proliferation of messaging applications, such as WhatsApp and Kik, it's easier for children to fall prey to adults hiding their identities online, officials said.