ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO — Thursday’s arrest of a Rockford man charged with possession and dissemination of child pornography highlights a rise of police investigations into these crimes.

Arrests for child pornography possession are becoming more common due to increasing ease of access, according to Detective Crystal Smoot of the Winnebago County Sheriff’s Office.

“Back in the day, you had to go to a video store and go behind the curtain to go see the X-rated films,” she said. “Nowadays, it’s in everyone’s fingertips. It’s on your internet, on your phone, tablet, computer.”

Investigating child pornography cases is complex, and it requires the help of agencies and the public, says Smoot.

“We go through ICAC, which is Internet Crimes Against Children, And they keep on file all the different cases that come in and every year it increases,” she said.

“We have tips that come through NCMEC (National Center for Missing and Exploited Children) and through the state. and then with those tips we start our investigations.”

As of April 1, 2023, the NCMEC have given 4,300 tips to the Illinois Attorney General’s Internet Crimes Against Children task force, already almost half the number in all of 2022.

Detective Smoot says talking to your kids about what can happen online is important towards child pornography reduction.

“Talk with your kids. Be active with your kids. Know what they’re looking at on the Internet. Know that their searches. Know what certain apps they’re using. Online gaming. Just know everything about them. They’re your kids. They’re their precious. Take care of them, watch over them, Know who they’re talking to.”