Crimes involving Grindr and Tinder have increased more than 700% in two years.
Fifty-five police reports in England and Wales mentioned the hook-up apps in 2013, according to figures released to the Press Association under the Freedom of Information Act.
This number jumped to 204 the following year. In the year to October 2015, 30 police forces said there had been at least 412 reports mentioning the apps: 277 referred to Tinder and 135 to Grindr.
The most commonly reported crimes were violent or sexual in nature: 253 allegations of violence and 152 reports of sex offenses.
‘The rising popularity of online dating apps and websites has contributed to an increase in the number of recorded crimes,’ said Andy Cooke, the National Police Chiefs’ Council’s lead on violence and public protection.
‘We strongly encourage users to report offenses and seek support if they become a victim of any type of crime. 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.’
LGBTI rights activist Peter Tatchell said that closeted gay and bisexual men were most at risk because criminals knew they were less likely to report crimes to the police.
‘The steep rises in sexual and violent offenses are a worrying trend that seems likely to continue,’ he said.
‘I suspect these figures are just the tip of the iceberg.’
Last month, London police issued a warning about a gang mugging gay men at knife-point after arranging to meet them on Grindr.
They are also appealing for information about a serial killer accused of murdering four gay men he met on dating apps.