EDMONTON – A group calling itself “Creep Catchers” has started looking for child predators in Edmonton.
They troll the internet pretending to be pre-teen girls, set up meetings with would-be dates and then confront them on camera.
The Creep Catchers then post those confrontation videos on the internet.
So far, four Edmonton videos have been posted to the site. One, dated Monday, shows a man calling himself John Doep confront someone on a residential street.
Doep shows the man text messages which he says proves his target was trying to meet up with a 13-year-old girl.
“You live right by a school that just got let out,” Doep tells the man. “We just wanted to make this community aware that a 19-year-old was going to meet up with a 13-year-old to have sex.”
The man repeatedly says he’s sorry
Global News caught up with Doep to talk about his efforts.
John Doep is just a pseudonym. He does not want to share his real name because he says he fears for his safety.
“It’s the most insane thing I’ve ever done in my life,” Doep said, while maintaining he is not a vigilante.
Doep has only done one video so far and says one of the scariest parts of the process was discovering how easy it was to find someone to ambush.
“I could literally have a pedophile within 30 minutes sitting in that chair looking for a 13-year-old,” he said.
The Creep Catcher says he was sexually abused as a child and that is what motivates him. His primary goal is making people aware of what and who is out there.
“I’m not trying to shame people. I’m not looking for fame. I’m, here to increase awareness and provide an outlet for those of us who’ve been sexually harassed. That’s it,” Doep said.
Another video depicts the so-called Creep Catchers confronting another man at his home.
According to the Creep Catchers, he too is supposed to have arranged for a 13-year-old girl to come to his house.
The man’s wife angrily tells two people who arrive at the home with a camera to leave.
This is the latest chapter of Creep Catchers to open.
The loosely organized group’s website says it has people baiting and luring child predators in eight cities across Canada; Edmonton, Lloydminster, Medicine Hat and Calgary are among them.
Dawson Raymond started the organization in Calgary and has posted videos of 26 confrontations.
READ MORE: Vigilante videos going viral
On the Creep Catcher website, Raymond writes, “On a daily basis I get several creeps wanting to meet young girls, which sometimes ends up being me. The police are limited in what they can and can’t do. It’s time that someone start showing these creeps for who they are! When you see me coming, just know that yer done bud!”
The website also rejects violence. It reads, “We do not condone or endorse any harm coming to these individuals, minus public shaming and outting. Any such violence towards anyone portrayed in our content will be frowned upon. Share the videos, share the posts, mock, namecall, point them out in public.”
Police warn vigilante actions aren’t a good idea says Staff Sgt. Paul Czerwonka with the Northern Alberta Internet Child Exploitation (ICE) unit.
“You’re trying to do your best but really, it’s a disservice to these kids because it’s information we can’t use,” he said.
Czerwonka added groups like Creep Catchers can interfere in police investigations and put people at risk.
“You don’t know who you’re dealing with,” he said. “It could be extremely dangerous.”
Calgary police say they’re aware of the videos and are investigating.
They also say they’re investigating Dawson Raymond.
Medicine Hat police have also recently expressed concern over the public-shaming practice.
But Doep vows to continue the videos.
“I feel like pedophiles are pushing the laws – luring children and asking for sex,” he said. “So why is it so looked down upon that I’m pushing the law?”