Tinder and Grindr related crime on rise

The number of alleged crimes potentially involving people's use of dating apps Tinder and Grindr increased more than sevenfold in two years. Picture: PA

The number of alleged crimes potentially involving people's use of dating apps Tinder and Grindr increased more than sevenfold in two years. Picture: PA

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The number of alleged crimes potentially involving people’s use of dating apps increased more than sevenfold in two years - including reports of rape, grooming and attempted murder.

Experts said the findings were “shocking” and urged the authorities to launch a campaign to raise awareness of the dangers of meeting strangers on so-called hook-up sites.

They said users were vulnerable to “sextortion” and warned the figures may be “just the tip of the iceberg” as many victims will be too scared or embarrassed to contact police.

According to the 30 police forces in England and Wales who responded to requests made under freedom of information laws, just 55 reports of crimes mentioned Grindr or Tinder in 2013. This jumped to 204 in 2014 and 412 in the year to October 2015. There were 277 crime reports in which Tinder was mentioned in 2015 - up from 21 in 2013.

And 135 alleged crimes in which Grindr was mentioned were recorded in 2015, up from 34 reported in 2013.

Tinder is used predominately by heterosexual daters while Grindr is a gay dating app.

Reports of violent and sexual crimes were the most common, with 253 allegations of violence against the person and 152 reports of sex offences, including grooming, rapes and the sexual exploitation of children.

The figures come from police reports where the apps are mentioned in the crime report and does not automatically mean the app was used directly by the criminal. But there have been documented cases in which they were.

Andy Phippen, professor of social responsibility in IT at Plymouth University, said it was a “growing problem, particularly around sextortion-type activities”.

He said: “If we are going to base the formation of a relationship on a photo and a few lines of text, how do we know that person is who they say they are and they have the right intentions?

“It is something we tell kids about - don’t trust who people say they are online – but the adult population go merrily about their way thinking it is a good way of hooking up.”

Last August, Daniel Edwards and his partner Kristofer Wagner, from Gloucester, were jailed for blackmail after threatening to expose a married man they met on Grindr.

In September 2014 the Garda in Ireland said officers in Dublin had arrested a man on suspicion of raping a woman he met through Tinder.

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