Alarming new crime statistics have revealed the true darkness of the online dating world – as crimes have risen dramatically in the last five years.
According to research by Wolverhampton Liberal Democrats, figures show that reported crimes related to online dating have risen dramatically in the West Midlands in the last five years.
Cases of grooming children, stalking and rapes were logged by police as the party called this the ‘dark side of dating’ online.
Exclusive figures for the party from West Midlands Police show that 1,356 offences were recorded between 2014 and 2019.
In 2014, 13 crimes were recorded and by 2019, so far, that had risen to 337 – a 2492% increase.
69 crimes were linked to much used apps like Tinder, Grindr, and Bumble.
The crimes linked to these popular websites were shocking like 10 rapes, a threat to kill, 3 cases of distributing Indecent Photo Of Child, 12 cases of harassment and 5 cases of blackmail.
The research shows that as well as the well known dating websites other platforms such as Snapchat, Reddit, Tik Tok, Tumblr, Kik were being used too in relation to dating crimes.
We saw 343 threatening messages sent on Snapchat, 135 cases of harassment, 15 threats to kill, 42 cases of blackmail, 40 cases of revenge porn, 7 making indecent photographs of a child, 2 cases of child grooming and a 125 sexual offenses.
On Kik, the mobile messenger app cops recorded 7 cases of blackmail 15 sexual offenses and a case of malicious wounding.
Using Tumblr the police registered 3 cases of harassment, 3 cases of revenge porn, 2 cases of possession of photos of a child and a case of stalking.
Tik Tok and the platform Reddit were used to commit three cases of harassment and two cases deliver a threatening message. Telegram the cloud-based instant messaging and voice over IP service was used to send a ‘grossly offensive message.
Around seven million UK residents are currently registered on dating sites, and it’s estimated one in three relationships in the UK now starts online.
Commenting, Liberal Democrat campaigner Leyla Abbes said: “This research has revealed the dark side of dating online. My worry is that the real figures could be significantly higher.
“While many people have found their perfect match through these dating apps, there are those who have became victims of horrific crimes.
“The police need to do much more than they currently are to highlight the real dangers of online dating.”