Alarming figures released by authorities in the U.K. reveal that crimes linked to dating apps are on the rise, increasing more than sevenfold in the past two years.
The statistics were compiled from reports from 30 police forces across England and Wales, following a request from the Press Association under the Freedom of Information Act.
The numbers show a sharp increase from 55 incidents of crimes that mentioned Tinder or Grindr in 2013, to 412 in the year to October 2015. Among the reported crimes were cases including rape, grooming, and attempted murder.
Tinder, being the more popular app, appeared on more crime reports than its gay-oriented counterpart, Grindr. The former was mentioned in relation to 277 reports of crime, up from just 21 in 2013. Grindr appeared on 135 crime reports last year, up from 34 in 2013.
Both dating platforms downplayed the figures in comparison to their overall user numbers, but urged users take steps to protect themselves, reports the BBC.
“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,” stated a Tinder spokesperson.
The numbers also seem small when compared to overall crime reports concerning rapes (29,265), and other sexual offences (58,964) in England and Wales.
“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,” said a Grindr spokesperson.
U.K. authorities, however, are treating the figures with the utmost urgency. “The rising popularity of online dating apps and websites has contributed to an increase in the number of recorded crimes,” Deputy Chief Constable Andy Cooke told the BBC.
“Those who use online dating apps [should] be as security conscious as possible … not to share personal data with anyone until they are sure about those they are communicating with.”
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