South Bend Police Department Offers Tips for Safe Online Dating
The South Bend Police Department has advised the general public to be careful while planning meet-ups from online dating apps. "You don’t truly know who’s on the other end," said the Police. This is coming after a dating app meet-up went awry recently in North Kaley Street, a residential neighborhood at Southbend.
"Anytime you’re going to meet someone who’s online, you may not know who is on the other end," said Ken Garcia, SBPD spokesman.
According to the report on WSBT, the victim had been on the road, texting to find out where his date, a lady, was. Only to be confronted by a man who tried to rob him. The victim, who was licensed to carry a gun, pulled it and the two men shot at each other. The victim sustained injuries in the arm and leg, but they were not life-threatening.
Police say they are looking into whether the man was lured to that spot on purpose to be robbed, and admit that there seems to be pretty strong suspicions that the victim was set up.
"Almost like a trap," said Garcia."He was texting to find out where she was and all of a sudden this other person shows up and tries to rob him,” said Garcia.
The South Bend Police, says there are things you can do to prevent yourself from ending up in a similar situation. The first step to safety is to plan to have your first date in a public place, maybe a coffee shop at the mall.
"Obviously, the best thing to do if you are trying to look into online dating or meeting up with people you’ve met online, go to a public place,” said Garcia.
"Somewhere that’s public where there are a lot of people because that just increases any safety measures.”
Popular dating apps also have some recommended safety tips for first-time meet-ups. For instance, Tinder recommends getting your own ride to and fro the meet-up, and telling someone else where you are going and who you are meeting.
Bumble, another popular dating app, suggests you do some research on the person you plan to meet. It is better to do a video call before the meet-up, just to confirm the person at the other end is indeed whom they claim to be.
The same advice also goes to people on virtual marketplaces who meet up to buy and sell.
Garcia says when you actually meet to make the sale, meet in a public place like the police station.
The police are still looking for the suspect, who has been described as a black male between 5’10” and 6’0” tall with a scruffy beard. He was last seen wearing all dark clothing.
Anyone with any information regarding the incidence is required to call 574-235-9201 or Crime Stoppers at 574-288-STOP.
Cosmopolitan offers a couple of dating safety rules which include:
- Get the full name and occupation of your date.
- Do some preliminary homework and follow your instincts.
- Google your date.