Serious crimes in Northamptonshire including rape and sexual activity with a child have involved the use of dating apps.
Figures released by police under Freedom of Information laws have revealed a total of 86 crimes reported to them in the past five financial years have involved an offender using Tinder, Grindr, Bumble or other dating apps.
More than half of these - 46 - came after the use of popular app Tinder, with 15 on gay social app Grindr. For 2018/19, the most recent statistics, 27 crimes were recorded - up from just four in 2014/15.
A Northamptonshire Police spokesman said: “More and more people are using dating websites to meet potential partners and whilst the majority of people on these websites are genuine, there are a small minority who pose a danger to those looking for love.
“We would encourage people to exercise caution when talking to others online - not to give away personal details too quickly and to report anything suspicious to the dating website. If a conversation is going well and you are ready to meet up with the person you are talking to, try and confirm their identity through a phone call first.
“It is also imperative to make a family member or friend aware that you are meeting up with an online love interest – you do not have to give them chapter and verse about your personal life but they will at least know to monitor your whereabouts during the date and be ready to help you if something isn’t quite right."
The statistics included a breakdown by each recorded offence which revealed one in eight of the crimes, a total of 11, were the rape of a woman.
They included four on Tinder and three on Bumble. The three Bumble rapes were the only crimes recorded involving the app.
One in three of the crimes involving Grindr was classed as obscene publications.
Other crimes reported across the apps included blackmail (seven), harassment (eight), sexual activity with a child (two), sexual activity without consent (three), sexual assault (six) and theft (eight).
A Northamptonshire woman was a victim of prolific dating site rapist Jason Lawrance, who used match.com to find his victims. He is currently serving a life sentence.
The police spokesman added: “For more advice, we would recommend users of dating sites to visit www.suzylamplugh.org which provides further tips on how to date safely.
“Please also remember that we are here if you need to report a crime to us – whether someone is blackmailing you or has committed another crime against you as part of an online date, we will treat your report in confidence and without judgement, and support you.”
Tinder has been contacted for comment but is yet to respond.