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May. 25, 2022 | Wednesday
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Police discourage vigilantes from conducting investigations
Logan Bell, 20, finds suspected predators in the Niagara region through hook-up apps. After a subject has agreed to meet an underage child, he then confronts them in person and films a video of the interaction. (Sourced/Youtube)

Niagara Regional Police strongly discourage groups like Regional Deviant Watch from conducting their own investigations of potential criminal or sexual offenders.

Police spokesperson Stephanie Sabourin said the department does not "ndorse civilian investigations and would expect that any criminal-related concerns are reported directly to police for appropriate investigation."

But that doesn't deter the man who identified himself as Logan Bell, who said he wants to prevent children from potential harm.

Bell, 20, from Niagara Falls, said he was inspired to start Regional Deviant Watch after seeing similar so-called "creep catcher" channels.

He said the amount of sex trafficking that happens in Niagara Falls also motivated him to do what he does.

“I got into this type of work because I realized there are no predator catchers down here. I watch many, many catchers online and it inspired me to start down here. We need to protect these innocent kids at all costs,” Bell said.

As well, when he was 14, he says he saw a man taking a picture under a girl's skirt as she walked with her father on Clifton Hill. The man fled when confronted. Bell said he wants to help shine a light on this activity.

There are more than a dozen videos on the group's channel and Bell said he brings all of them to the attention of police. 

Officers are aware of what he does, he said, and he thinks many support it.

“I have communicated with police about this work and for the most part they do condone it. They know we have good intentions when doing this type of work,” Bell said.

“They do advise most predator catchers to leave this work to police, but they do know intentions are good and still look into every catch.”

He said the conversations with suspects begin on hook-up apps, but that the group does not approach anyone.

They have a decoy profile and wait for people to approach them on Grindr and other apps like Meet Me and Jaumo.

He said people contact their decoy accounts daily.

To access apps like Grinder, Bell and his group have to set their age at 18 minimum. After they are approached, they move the conversations to text messages and inform suspects they are only 15.

“We put the lowest age possible and then tell them right away in message that we are in fact 15. That’s what almost every catcher does as well,” Bell says.

“The reason why we move conversations to text is because we get banned on Grindr a lot, which is a good thing because it means there are people who do the right thing and instantly block and report, not meet up with the child," he said.

"It’s a bit better to move to text because you don’t get reported as much, I find. It also gives us their phone number for further evidence.”

Bell said group members typically bring backup when confronting a suspect, for safety and to have a third camera that shows they’re merely confronting the subject.

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