Dating apps to many may seem like harmless fun, but that wasn’t the case for one 20-year old Lawrence college student who was allegedly beaten and held captive for six days by a man she met on Tinder.
Law enforcement officials say these claims are a wake up call for people who use online dating services.
“When you have social media, something between you and that person, you’re not face to face with them, it creates that false security and they will actually use that to potentially harm somebody, or to find somebody that they see as a victim,” said Sgt. David Hogue of the Lawrence Police Department.
However, college students on the hill don’t see the harm in using dating apps like Tinder.
“There can be shady people on it, but I think honestly if you’re just looking to hang out or something really short term it’s not that unsafe,” said Courtney Crain, a sophomore at KU.
“I used to use it. I think it’s a very safe thing,” said Sam Silverman, a KU senior.
And it’s the false sense of safety that officers say lead many young adults into dangerous dating traps.
“The younger you are you’re probably more at risk because you’ve grown up with social media, and you’ve probably had an overwhelmingly positive experience. [They] can be more trusting as to who is on the other end,” said Hogue.
Students on the hill are in shock after learning about the near deadly encounter the young woman had. Just one reason Courtney Crain says you won’t find her on Tinder.
“See, that’s why I feel like you have to be really safe, especially meeting anyone online.”
For those who use the app, they say doing your research is key.
“Look them up on Facebook. Associate their friends and who they hang with just so you know who you’re dealing with,” said Silverman.
Law officials add that if you do decide to use apps like Tinder to meet people, always let someone know where you are, never go to meet the person alone, and always meet in a public place.
The man being charged in that kidnapping case, Shane Allen, is scheduled to have a hearing on June 24th.