Wondering where all the eligible bachelors and bachelorettes are? “Eligible” may not be an applicable qualifier across the board, but if you’re looking for men and women to mingle with, you might want to check out Tinder, which has now been downloaded over 100 million times. Apparently, “New Year New You” is loosely translated in the digital age to “New Year New Significant Other,” as January 3 marked the app’s single highest increase in user growth. Tinder, which launched in September 2012, has drawn its fair share of negative attention, but that clearly hasn’t stopped men and women from getting behind the platform en masse.
This huge influx in users comes as great news, says CEO Sean Rad, not only for Tinder, but for people in search of love (or whatever) on the platform as well. “More downloads increases the potential for making matches and creating meaningful connections,” Rad has said in the past, noting that the app will continue to improve its functionality.
But just because everyone seems to be on Tinder these days doesn’t necessarily mean you should jump on the bandwagon. For one thing, the Telegraph notes, crimes linked to dating apps have actually increased seven-fold in the last two years alone. Last year, more than 400 offenses arising from encounters initiated through dating app usage, including rape, child sex crimes, and attempted murder, were reported to the police, and officials worry that the unreported number is far greater.
Previously, the vast majority of the dangers associated with dating apps were largely relegated to STDs and STIs, but now, there seem to be even further potential consequences. “The rising popularity of online dating apps and websites has contributed to an increase in the number of recorded crimes,” said Andy Cooke, deputy chief constable of Merseyside Police over in England, who is also the national police council’s lead on violence and public protection. “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.”
So if you’re one of the millions new to Tinder, proceed with caution.