Good morning southern Colorado and here's what you need to know on your Wednesday, June 2.
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Federal investigators want parents to ask themselves an important question, do you know what your kids are up to online right now? News 5 takes a deep dive into the terrifying world of online predators and the trouble that could be waiting if our families aren't careful.
Online gaming, social media, and online dating, these are all mainstream online platforms, but federal investigators say they're also providing cover for online predators targeting our kids.
One of the online schemes being carried out by online predators that's concerning FBI agents the most is called sextortion. The predator convinces the child to send them an explicit image of themselves and then uses that image as blackmail to get the victim to continue to produce more inappropriate photos and videos.
The FBI has been tracking statistics about online predators and targets of their actions. Federal investigators believe there are more than 500,000 online predators active each day and they all have multiple online profiles. More than 50% of victims are ages 12 to 15 and 89% of victims are contacted by online predators through chat rooms and instant messaging. Read more
Three drive-by shootings in one day, on top of more than 70 reports in 2021 alone. Pueblo saw "over 160 drive-by shootings in 2020, and so far this year we're on track to beat that record," said Captain Kenny Rider with the Pueblo Police Department.
While the East side has a "bad reputation" for drive-by shootings, most community members say they feel safe in their homes and "believe it happens all over Pueblo".
This ideology is something Captain Rider believes to be a problem in itself: The fact that drive-by shootings are so common that many community members do not fear them.
One common theme the PPD is noticing is that they are constantly arresting people for possession of a weapon who have previous felony charges. "Unfortunately, it's almost like a revolving door," said Rider. "We'll arrest them, put them in jail, and then before you know it, they're back on the streets again in possession of another weapon!"
One suggestion to slow gun violence in Pueblo from the PPD is to ensure that any firearms you own are secured in your car or your vehicle, as many of these felons steal weapons that are used in drive-by shootings.
"If you have a firearm in your home or vehicle, that could be stolen! And so if they're secured, then that's less of a chance that they can be used in another crime down the road."
With the removal of restrictions on large indoor gatherings by the Colorado Department of Public Health, local businesses are looking forward to welcoming more patrons.
Kinship Landing, a boutique hotel in downtown Colorado Springs, opened in January amid the pandemic. "We're very excited some of these mandates are being lifted, we also need to be cognizant that for these hotels and venues, it takes some time to catch up," said Mackenzie Tamayo, COVID-19 Program manager, Pikes Peak Small Business Development Center.
As businesses adapt to the latest public health order, Tamayo says changes won't happen right away. "Some businesses aren't as comfortable as others so it's really important that for example the mask mandate was lifted, some businesses feel more comfortable still wearing masks and requiring their patrons to wear masks," said Tamayo.
Without the restriction on indoor gatherings, she expects more patrons to go out to local businesses. Wedding season expected to be busy this year. "The venues are doing best practices and being cognizant that people are still getting vaccinated," said Tamayo.
As the restrictions continue to loosen, she says it'll be important for patrons to shop local and support small businesses.
She recommends going to the El Paso County and Pikes Peak Small Business Development Center website to keep updated on the COVID-19 mandates.
Due to the continued threat of drought conditions in El Paso County, Sheriff Bill Elder's office announced today the sale, use, or possession of fireworks is illegal in unincorporated areas of El Paso County.
Illegal fireworks now in El Paso County include:
• Bottle rockets
• Firecrackers of any type
• Roman candles
• Ground spinners
• Smoke Bombs
Similar restrictions are also in place year-round for Colorado Springs, Monument, and Fountain.
We're looking at a pretty beautiful day across southern Colorado with pleasant temperatures and only a few storms in the afternoon.
Storm chances today are very isolated in nature and mostly over the Sangre De Cristos, Wet Mountain, and San Luis Valleys. No storms should be severe today, just a few gusty winds under storms in the valleys.
COLORADO SPRINGS: High: 75; Low: 50. Sunny in the morning and cloudy in the afternoon with dry skies, breezy winds, and mild daytime temperatures.
PUEBLO: High: 80; Low: 50. Sunny through most of the day with increasing clouds by the end of the day, dry skies, and warm afternoon temperatures.