Over the past four years, 17 people in the Greater Manchester area have reported being raped after using one of two apps, Grindr and Tinder, according to police statistics obtained by Leech through a freedom of information request.A total of 58 people were victims of online dating-related crimes in those four years, some of them sexual. For context, in 2012 the area had an overall average of 243 sexual assaults and rapes every month.) Many apps offer a page of advice for safe dating.Liverpool Crown Court was told Hawke, of no fixed abode, moved into Sharon's house after just one date, and started controlling the 39-year-old, who suffered from depression and had learning difficulties.Stephan begged her to end the relationship after hearing that Hawke used to "push his sister around."But Sharon told her brother that she was "just desperate to be loved" and stopped speaking to him shortly after.To resolve these emergencies, John asked for financial help from the widow.The widow finally insisted that John reveal himself on a webcam.And now Stephan, from Wirral, Merseyside, is determined that his sister's death will not in vain.The online dating scene has changed dramatically over the last couple of decades, and more Americans than ever are looking for their perfect match on the web.
The 33-year-old was jailed for a minimum of 17-and-a-half years after he admitted murder in July last year.John Leech thinks the situation is new, and dangerous.A local council member in Manchester, in the north of England, Leech this year launched a campaign to make online dating companies commit to keeping their users safer.In fact, the survey notes that “the District of Columbia’s rates per capita for both violent crime and STDs are almost double the rates in Alaska, its nearest competitor on our Most Dangerous list.” On the flip side, New England states were deemed the safest places to date, with Vermont taking the top spot, followed by Maine and New Hampshire.Speaking for the first time since his sister Sharon Winters was murdered by online lover Kevin Hawke, Stephen urges women to be wary of meeting men on the internet."She was a lonely heart just wanting love," Stephen said of his sister.Researchers analyzed the FBI’s cybercrime and violent crime rates per capita for each state as well as the CDC’s reported cases of common STDs.Also in the top 10 were New Mexico, Nevada and South Carolina.But fake profiles abound, sexual predators use the sites, and some common online dating behavior—like meeting alone after scant acquaintance, sharing personal information, and using geolocation—puts users at risk.Dating companies are being pushed to better protect users, but some seem reluctant to do more— or even to talk about whether there’s a problem.But Leech wants other protections, like giving users alerts about potential risks before they ever begin chatting with strangers.Is this scaremongering, or is online dating truly putting users in danger?