The use of dating apps has skyrocketed in the past few years, with the likes of Tinder, Bumble and Happn offering an easy way for us to connect with prospective partners. But new data from the Metropolitan Police reveals a worrying upshot these kind of apps.
The number of people reporting crimes experienced as a result of dating apps has risen by a disturbing 2,000 percent since 2012.
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In the first half of this year alone, 187 crimes, including thefts and violence, have been reported by victims who met their attackers on Tinder or Grindr, according to London police data. And last year 74 sex attacks were reported to have happened under these circumstances.
Compare this to just 18 crimes - four of which were sex crimes - reported as a result of app dates in 2012, and we're beginning to see a seriously dark side to dating apps.
Avoiding app dating isn't the answer. The majority of people on apps are genuine and like-minded, and the trend is likely to do with the growing number of users. As of late 2014 Tinder was estimate to facilitate an average 12 million matches a day worldwide.
But it is important for users to be mindful of provisions they can make in case they are left feeling endangered on a date - like meeting in a public place and checking in with a friend. But government-funded schemes to prevent sexual assault and crimes in these circumstances need to become more commonplace.
A poster initiative in Lincolnshire called Ask For Angela recently went viral, for its clever and discreet code word which women can use to seek help if they feel unsafe on a date. Hopefully, the release of these disturbing stats will spur on more councils to follow suit.
If you've experienced sexual violence and need support you can call Rape Crisis on 0808 802 9999 and contact them via rapecrisis.org.uk.