ICE launches app to locate child predators

(WXYZ) - Federal agents have launched an app to help locate child predators and keep the public informed. 

The app by  U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations was launched today and is the first of its kind in federal law enforcement.

The HSI Operation Predator app is designed to work with the public to help identify and locate fugitive and unknown suspected child predators.  It's what officials are saying is the new way technology is being used to bring these predators to justice.

"This is the next step..the next evolution in that process is now putting these fugitives on board the app so that they're available for anyone to identify and hopefully we'll be able to lock these individuals up," said Acting Special Agent in Charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations William Hayes.

Some of the features of the app include a running list of child predators wanted for criminal prosecution around the world.

Two on the list—Mark Austin and Erich Eckart—have ties to Michigan.

The app also has a tip line—where anonymous tips can be reported at any time. 

Users will also receive push notification if a new predator has been added to the list, or if one has been arrested.

"This will keep these perpetrators... will make the world a lot smaller place for them to hide and will help law enforcement by doing so," said Hayes. 

The app is currently available for iPhones with an A ndroid app in the works. 

"The creation and launch of this application provides ICE another useful tool to reach the public," said ICE Director of Public Affairs Brian Hale in a press release. "We recognize that people receive a great deal of information on their mobile devices and we are hopeful that this app will encourage them to submit tips about suspects and to learn more about our work investigating child exploitation crimes."

Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing chil dren may be reported to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children  at1-800-843-5678 .

Check out the app here:   http://bit.ly/1eixbIM

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