Are So Called 'Video Vigilante'” Cashing In On Stings of Alleged Predators?
Meet a Man Who Claims His Sex Sting Operations Against Alleged Predators Nets Him Six Figures a Year
Why is this guy running?
He allegedly just got caught trying to meet a person he was told was a 13-year-old girl at a hotel, but instead walked in to find "Skeet Hansen" and one of his so-called sting operations.
The man claims he thought the girl was 18, at which point Hansen disputes that by pulling up his alleged communications with the man.
Hansen then informs that man he is part of the "predatorial investigation unit" and that he has the police on standby.
Inside Edition got to speak with Hansen afterwards about these stings.
"I've always thought it would be pretty cool to sort of do what Chris Hansen does," says Hansen.
He adopted the name "Skeet Hansen" as a nod to Chris Hansen, the former host of "To Catch a Predator."
He is part of a growing group referred to as video vigilantes who post videos online of their stings with alleged child predators. But is it all just for clicks and attention?
"Do you think you're doing a public service?" Lisa Guerrero asks Hansen.
"It's sort of 50/50," he responds. "You know, we're, of course trying to make entertaining content. But ultimately, we want these individuals to seek justice as well, if possible."
One thing he is not, says Hansen, is a vigilante,
"I don't really care to be called a vigilante. I think, you know, a vigilante is someone sort of, you know, like Batman," he tells Inside Edition. "I'm just out here making you know, entertaining content for people to watch on YouTube, and I just - I don't associate myself with the term vigilante."
Not everyone thinks that these stings are good things.
"This is vigilantism. And private citizens taking law enforcement into their own hands is a problem for our society," Adam Scott Wandt tells Inside Edition,
Wandt, who is a professor of Public Policy at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, adds: "Under no circumstances should private citizens be doing these online sting operations on their own. The risk far outweighs any benefits."
That is not stopping Hansen, who says he has carried out 50 of these operations. Only three of those 50 resulted in arrests.
Some prosecutors even believe that sting operations like Hansen's hurt their chances of catching and convicting pedophiles.
"As long as these predators are out here trying to meet up with you know, underage girls, I will still be here catching them," Hansen explains,
With his 30 million page views, Hansen says these stings are helping him pull in an annual salary in the six-figure range.
But even his idol thinks this is a risky practice.
"I think the vast majority of the vigilante predator catchers out there are doing it for cliques and profit, and they're trying to make a name for themselves on YouTube or any other social media platform, just as a comedian is trying to do," Chris Hansen tells Inside Edition. "But in this case, you're inducing somebody to break the law with no protections."
Chris Hansen is now hosting "Tru Blue Nation" on the Tru Blue streaming network.
He says that he embeds with law enforcement before taking down alleged child predators for that show, and law enforcement officers are aways nearby during his sting operations.
Meanwhile, the man Hansen caught in that sting has not been charged with a crime and did not respond to Inside Edition's requests for comment. The video Hansen posted earlier this week already has over 300,000 views.
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