Figures suggest rise in crimes linked to dating apps

Two hands using mobile phones

The number of reported crimes where dating apps are mentioned has increased more than sevenfold in the past two years.

That's according to 30 police forces in England and Wales who responded to a Freedom of Information request from the Press Association.

The reported crimes included rape, grooming and attempted murder.

Fifty-five reports of crimes mentioned Grindr or Tinder in 2013, jumping to 412 in the year to October in 2015.

We take our users' safety seriously and continue to advise our millions of users to be vigilant
Tinder spokesperson

The numbers might have increased but it remains a small amount compared to the many thousands of dating app users.

There were 29,265 rapes and 58,954 other sexual offences in England and Wales in 2015, according to the Office for National Statistics.

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.

In a statement, Tinder told Newsbeat: "People with bad intentions exist in coffee shops, bookstores, on social media and social apps.

"Tinder has become one of the largest social platforms in the world, responsible for 10 billion connections in just the last few years, and therefore we are not immune to this, despite the fact that it represents a miniscule percentage of our experiences."

phone with tinder

A Grindr spokesperson said: "Grindr has always encouraged users to treat the platform as they would any other social interaction in their lives, with a measure of caution and an awareness of their own safety.

"There are many ways to verify and take steps to protect yourself, from meeting in more public spaces to getting phone numbers and speaking beforehand.

"We take these matters very seriously and cooperate with local law enforcement at all turns where we can."

Although the figures are relatively small police are urging people to take care using dating apps and websites.

dating apps

Deputy Chief Constable Andy Cooke, from the National Police Chiefs' Council, said: "The rising popularity of online dating apps and websites has contributed to an increase in the number of recorded crimes.

"I would urge those who 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."

The figures come from police reports where Tinder and Grindr have been mentioned in the description of the crime.

This can refer to cases where they were allegedly used to commit a crime, where the victim and suspect met on the app.

The forces which provided figures did not give more of a breakdown of the different situations.

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