Rise In Crimes Related To Tinder And Other Dating Apps

According to figures from 30 police forces across England and Wales, the number of reported crimes where dating apps like Tinder or Grindr are mentioned have risen more than sevenfold in the last two years.

Rise In Crimes Related To Tinder And Other Dating Apps

by Vicky Spratt |

Just how safe is using a dating app? It’s something anyone who’s ever used them has definitely asked themselves. Tinder arrived on the dating scene in 2012 and since then various apps have followed in its wake. Prior to this people obviously used sites like OkCupid and Plenty of Fish but online dating was certainly less prolific than it is now.

There has long been speculation about how safe dating apps are, everybody has an urban myth type ‘friend of a friend who got catfished’ story but, what with these being relatively unchartered waters, up until now nobody had looked into this properly.

Thanks to a Freedom of Information (FOI) request filed by the Press Association to local police forces across England and Wales, there are now some figures available. And, these figures suggest that a rise in some crimes can be linked to dating apps.

According to the 30 police forces who responded to the FOI the number of reported crimes where dating apps are mentioned have risen more than sevenfold in the past two yeas – that’s an increase of 650 per cent!

The reported crimes include rape, violent assault, grooming and attempted murder.

Fifty-five reports of crimes mentioned Grindr or Tinder in 2013, jumping to 412 in one year by October 2015. The figures show there were 135 crime reports in which Grindr was mentioned last year - up from 34 in 2013. Tinder was mentioned in 277 reports of crimes in 2015 - up from 21 in 2013.

The figures come from police reports where Tinder and Grindr have been mentioned in the description of the crime. This means that they could refer to cases where they were allegedly used to commit a crime, where the victim and suspect met on the app but does not necessarily mean that the apps was used by the alleged criminal to facilitate the crime.

Certainly, the numbers of crimes reported are relatively small compared to the many thousands of dating app users out there. However, that doesn’t undermine their significance.

The police are urging people to take care when using dating apps and websites.

National Police Chiefs’ Council lead on Violence and Public Protection, Deputy Chief Constable Andy Cooke said,

‘The rising popularity of online dating apps and websites has contributed to an increase in the number of recorded crimes. We strongly encourage users to report offences and seek support if they become a victim of any type of crime.’

We’re told from a young age about ‘stranger danger’ and taught not to trust people we don’t know but, as adults, many of us are putting ourselves out there and meeting up with people we don’t know at all, often over a few drinks and sometimes with the sole intention of hooking up with them.

The Deputy Chief Constable added that he would urge those who do use online dating apps to be ‘as security conscious as possible and not to share personal data with anyone until they are sure about those they are communicating with. Similarly, individuals should stop all communication with anyone who attempts to pressurise them into something they are not comfortable with. If this happens you should contact the dating app provider immediately to discuss your concerns and always report any criminal activity to the police.’

As for whether they’re looking into this relatively new arena of online life and tryig to work out how it can be safer he said:

‘Forces are committed to responding and adapting to emerging threats in order to keep the public safe. We will continue to work with partners to provide safety advice aimed at protecting users and preventing offences taking place.’

We contacted Tinder and Grindr for a comment but have yet to receive a response.

You might also be interested in:

Dating Apps Are Increasinf Rates Of Sexually Transmitted Infection

How Tinder's Stopping Us Having Sex

What To Do When You're Catfished On Tinder

Follow Vicky on Twitter @Victoria_Spratt

This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

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