Only 55 crimes were reported to the police in 2013, rising to 204 in 2014 and again to 412 last year.
Crimes of a violent or sexual nature were the most common, with police forces reporting 253 allegations of violence and 152 for offences including grooming and rape.
Deputy chief constable Andy Cooke urged those who use dating apps to be security conscious and not to share personal data with anyone until sure about with whom you are communicating.
‘Forces are committed to responding and adapting to emerging threats in order to keep the public safe,’ he added. ‘We will continue to work with partners to provide safety advice aimed at protecting users and preventing offences taking place.’
A blind eye to risk
The statistics show that users are either turning a blind eye to the risk or are not giving it the consideration it deserves.
Many dating apps, and others, make use of smartphone technology that includes location data. This, together with a lapse in care or common sense, can provide criminals with the opportunity they need to find potential victims.
It may be the ease with which these apps provide users to make connections and set up dates that leads some into danger, but how much responsibility should fall on the service providers?’
Although some dating apps provide safety tips and advice, though the most vulnerable may pay attention to warnings notices, regular users soon blank them out, as many of us do with advertisements or other system messages.
There is a real risk that many more crimes of this type are being committed but go unreported, simply because of a victim’s concern for personal privacy or, perhaps, a sense of embarrassment. The police and service providers must do more to encourage the reporting of these types of crime and make reporting as easy and accessible as possible.
Dating app demand keeps rising
The news comes as gay dating app Grindr announced that it has sold a 60% controlling stake to Chinese gaming company Beijing Kunlun Tech, which is reported to have paid $98.4m (£68.4m). It is expected to use the app’s popularity as a way of boosting income from outside China by directing users towards its games. Only last month, the app live-streamed the catwalk show of designer J W Anderson, as it seeks other ways of attracting and retaining users on the app.
Meanwhile, the owner of Tinder is still thought to be pressing ahead with an IPO that would value to the group at $3.1bn (£2.1bn). The US based Match Group also includes Match.com and OkCupid as well as other online apps and sites.
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