For four days earlier this month, a temporary tenant took up residence in Fairfield, Conn., someone who probably would have been familiar to many of the locals if he weren't holed up in a house with police, waiting for potential sex offenders. It was Chris Hansen, ex-host of NBC's To Catch a Predator series, rebooting his famous show as Hansen vs. Predator—but this time without the support of any TV network in what the New Republic calls "America's first-ever Kickstarter-funded sex sting." Hansen's original show ended in 2013 when his contract wasn't renewed shortly after rumors of a renewed extramarital affair emerged, but he's been trying to crowdfund his way back into the land of sweet tea and decoys for some time. The result: a Kickstarter campaign that raised nearly $90,000, enough to pull off the initial Fairfield operation and give Hansen enough material to either show it as an online series or pitch to broadcast networks or digital platforms.
Not that Fairfield law enforcement was champing at the bit to serve as a sexual-predator stomping ground: Online sex solicitation wasn't exactly plaguing Fairfield, and Deputy Chief of Police Christopher Lyddy didn't want to bring in that undesirable faction, per the New Republic. "At the end of the day we completely understood ... that we really had a responsibility to become involved and to ensure this neighborhood was safe," Lyddy says. By the end of the sting, Lyddy's department nabbed 10 men on a variety of sex-related charges. He says Hansen and his team were professional and that his force couldn't have pulled off the arrests so well without the show's technological help. Meanwhile, Hansen tells the magazine, "We just made that the safest neighborhood in America." (Read how the first installment went down, as well as about the show's critics and advocates.)