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3 things to know about rise of dating app-related crimes

Should you worry? How do you stay safe? Here’s what a few experts have to say

Law enforcement authorities around the world have taken to the media recently to warn online daters about the increased number of crimes in which perpetrators met their victims on dating apps. Multiple media outlets have reported that there has been a seven-times increase in crimes such as rape and murder due to dating apps. So, from around the internet, here are what people are saying about this trend and how to stay safe.

1. Be ‘security conscious’

Tech Times reported this statement by U.K. police:

Andy Cooke, deputy chief constable of Merseyside Police in England, said that the increase in the number of reported crimes was influenced by the increasing popularity of dating apps. He encouraged app users who became victims to report the offense and seek support.

“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,” said Cooke.

2. Dating app-related crimes are still a small piece of the pie

While the numbers show an increase, BBC reported that the number of crimes linked to dating apps is still relatively small compared to the total number of sexual-oriented crimes:

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.

3. Dating apps can induce strong physiological effects

A New York Times article compares the high you might get from romantic feelings to what you would feel if you took certain kinds of drugs:

?The drive to find a preferred mate is extremely powerful,? said Lucy Brown, a clinical professor of neurology at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, who studies the brain activity of people in love. ?It?s a reflexive urge, like hunger and thirst,? which can cloud judgment and make people less likely to question the motives of an online match.

Moreover, she said, romantic love can produce feelings of euphoria similar to the effects of cocaine or heroin, which explains why otherwise intelligent and accomplished people do irrational things to get a fix. Of course, people have always been fools for love ? it?s just that the global reach and altered reality of the Internet increases the risk and can make the emotional and financial damage more severe.

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About Jordan Murray Jordan is a journalist who has written extensively about dating and lifestyle for multiple publications.

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