Review: To Catch a Predator: Protecting Your Kids from Online Enemies Already in Your Home

This is my review of the book, To Catch a Predator: Protecting Your Kids from Online Enemies Already in Your Home, by Chris Hansen.

If you want to find a copy of the book, buy it at your local Barnes & Nobles or online Here.

If you’re intrigued so far or have watched the series, “Dateline: To Catch a Predator”; then you know what the book is about already.

Chris Hansen spends the first chapter explaining how he came across Perverted Justice and the idea behind To Catch a Predator, along with the back story behind the first two episodes of TCAP. As Chris starts the book, he explains that he and everyone else at NBC were skeptical that they would have as many people show up during the investigation. Course, as we all know, from the first Dateline, 18 men showed up to have sex with what they thought were minors. The only details I feel that Chris Hansen skims by the history of Perverted Justice. Everything else during the first chapter is about the stings and some of the struggles that Chris and the crew experience with the first two stings that did not have police involvement.

The second chapter deals with a online predator case that hit close to home for Chris Hansen. The story is about a little girl from Arkansas, named Kacie Woody, whose father was a police officer. The chapter details how she was duped by someone online who she thought was another teenager online, and later turned out to a child molester. If any chapter is a wakeup call for parents and children, it is this chapter. It will shock you and scare you. It just goes to show the good that TCAP does, and the events the inspired the creation of the series.

Chapter 3 talks about the viewpoints of sex offender advocates and the different ways of how child molesters affect their families and their victim’s families. While the chapter gives you the impression that strict restrictions on child molesters makes it harder to rehabilitate them and I do believe some harsh restrictions do make it difficult to keep molesters from re-offending, in the end the best way to handle sex offenders is to handle each case individually.

Chatper 4 coverges on the California Investigation, the first TCAP with police involvement. The chapter is a recap of the entire show sprinkled with a few extra background details about the operation.

Chapter 5 shows the effects on the predators families and how their families are sometimes unable to go about their normal lives after their spouses are arrested in the stings.

Chapter 6 deals with the dangers of MySpace and other social networking sites.

Sadly the rest of the book repeats what went on during each TCAP show with a few little extra behind the scenes commentary and insight.

 Overall I’d give the book a 3 out of 5 stars.  It would have received more if Chris Hansen had gone into some of the prep of shooting each different TCAP, more into the background of PJ, and of course, updates on some of the men caught in the stings.

 Stay Tuned for my review of “Caught in the Web” by Julian Sher.

Matt Luria